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July 9, 2010

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Hotlines team up to help girls and young women

SIX minors delivered babies after calling for help from the city's first health hotline for minors and young pregnant women last year, while only one or two such cases occurred in previous years.

Hospital officials said some girls believe it is chic to be a single mother after seeing domestic and Hollywood celebrities doing the same thing.

"They even said such women are strong," said Zhu Weijie from No. 411 Hospital of People's Liberation Army, which operates the hotline 65876866.

The hotline is now working with the Shanghai Youth League's 12355 hotline. Minors and young women can call either hotline to receive medical, psychological or legal help from a team of lawyers, experts and volunteers. Calls will be transferred to appropriate personnel.

The medical hotline receives 50 to 60 calls per day in the summer, its peak season.

Since being launched five years ago, the hotline has received some 40,000 calls and offered abortions to about 3,500 girls and young women. More than 30,000 packages of emergency contraception pills, also known as morning-after pills, were distributed to young girls who called for help.

"Medical support is just one aspect of the hotline, which has been designed to offer health education and protect youngsters," Zhu said. "Society, family and schools should raise awareness about sex education to ensure the health of minors and prevent sex-related crimes."

About 28 percent of the girls who called the medical hotline are from a one-parent family or parents who have a poor relationship. While 30 percent of 12355 callers said they just talk to friends if getting into trouble.

Officials also highlighted the importance of providing sex education to migrant children.


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