Teen pregnancy declines in Marshall County

There is good news on the teen pregnancy front in Marshall County – the rate is on the decline.

Jana Enfield, who leads the local coalition to help prevent teen pregnancy, told the Board of Health Tuesday that there are some encouraging signs in the county.

The number of girls ages 15 to 19 in Marshall County who gave birth in 2011 was 57, down from 80 in 2010.

Marshall County was previously atop the state in the percentage of teens giving birth and now ranks in a three-way tie for sixth in the state.

“We’re hoping to continue to see these decreases,” Enfield said. “So there’s some good stuff going on.”

Enfield said there still is work to do as Marshall County’s percentage of teens giving birth was at 4.1 percent in 2011, which is above the state average of 2.5 percent and the national average of 3.4 percent.

“We still have an issue, but, boy, are we making some good progress,” Enfield said.

The local coalition has focused efforts on bringing the community together to help solve the problem, including schools, churches, human service agencies and members of the public.

Marshalltown High School ninth and tenth grade students in physical education classes will be getting sexual education instruction in the next two months, Enfield said.

There is still concern about the number of two types of sexually transmitted infections in the county.

There were 206 reported cases of chlamydia and 19 cases of gonorrhea in Marshall County among teens ages 15 through 19 from 2005 to 2009.

The news of a lower teen pregnancy rate was welcomed by county leaders.

“It’s about time it starts going down,” said Dave Thompson, chair of the Board of Supervisors.