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By Keni Ramese Lesa

APIA, Samoa (September 27, 2000 - Samoa Observer/PINA Nius Online)---The increasing number of teenage pregnancies in Samoa and the Pacific was one of the hotly debated issues at the International Planning Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Work Program Budget Review meeting.

Nine Pacific countries met to discuss, analyze and make recommendations for future development of IPPF. As a strong advocate of the family planning message in the region, IPPF delegations from around the Pacific expressed concern over several family health issues.

"The number of teenage pregnancies in Samoa is increasing," Executive Director of Samoa Family Health (SFH), Apineru Peniamina, told the Samoa Observer. "In this meeting we are discussing ways in which the problem could be solved."

The one-week meeting was originally scheduled for Fiji. But because of the unsound political situation in that country, Samoa was chosen as the best alternative. Present at the meeting were delegates from Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati and the Cook Islands.

Apineru said IPPF has expanded its approach in reducing the number of teenage pregnancy cases in the region. "Before it use to be a problem that only involved teenagers. Now, IPPF is taking it from a wider scope," he said. "This involves the father, mother and practically the whole family."

Apineru believes communication within families is a vital ingredient in the process of solving the problem.

The exact number of teenage pregnancy cases in the country could not be confirmed yesterday, as some cases are not reported. But last year, over 200 cases were reported to the hospital.

The teenagers often want to avoid the embarrassment and stay home. "A lot of them don’t come to the hospital, especially the ones who live in the villages."

Among other matters, Apineru presented the annual report for SFH. "Our report was arguably the best one with regard to family planning achievements," Apineru remarked. To date, SFH has catered for the need of 3,465 clients. Since the beginning of this year, 89 new clients have joined the program.

SFH’s message with regard to having children was also reinforced. "We¹re not here to stop them from having children, we’re here to help them."

One other issue discussed was IPPF’s budget for 2000-2001. The delegates discussed how IPPF "payments, salaries, programs and contraception supplies" were to be funded.



APIA, Samoa (September 28, 2000 -Samoa Observer/PINA Nius Online)---It’s another Saturday of Samoa’s national Talent Competition. Youth groups, church groups, secondary schools groups and many individual performers are competing for the National trophy and cash prizes. The event aims to promote the standards and practice of performance works and to nurture the talents of young people.

It is this type of activity that contributes to the development of youth in Samoa and the performing arts in general. There are great prizes to be won. But the organizers say it is not just about winning but they want to showcase what the youth are capable of in a positive way.

They say this is an opportunity to share skills and experiences with others and to encourage creativity and originality amongst the young ones. The competitions are being coordinated under the auspices of the "Samoa Institute of Performing Arts" as one of their annual activities.

It is hoped to make it an annual event and, with the support of the sponsors, the event is expected to establish a positive impact on the lives of the participants.

This year’s categories are singing and dancing and next year will include brass and other musical instruments.

Events of this nature usually aim at bringing schools and families together to enjoy the variety of talents, the organizers say.

Following the preliminaries on 16th, 23rd and 30th September will be the finals (best of the best) to be held at Hotel Kitano Tusitala on 7th October. The competition this Saturday will coincide with radio station Magic FM’s 30th Anniversary.

It’s going to be a big day, with competition heating up towards the top five selection. But the day itself is a market day with entertainment, stalls and other magical surprises.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: 

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