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July 8, 2011

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Pregnancy helpline dip

A PREGNANCY helpline for girls and young women has seen an unexpected drop in calls - proof of the success of sex education in schools and rising awareness of reproductive health, said the operator.

Officials with Shanghai's first helpline offering consultation and help for girls and young women who become pregnant unexpectedly saw a drop in calls between January and June. This was the first drop since the line was launched six years ago.

"The drop may be because of educational authorities' rising awareness on sex education," said Zhu Weijie from the No. 411 Hospital of People's Liberation Army, which operates the helpline.

However, officials from the helpline warned minors about unprotected sex during the two-month summer holiday, usually a peak time for calls.

The helpline - 6587-6866 - received 4,500 calls in the first half of this year, down 7 percent on the same period last year.

Previously, the number of calls had increased by 4 to 5 percent each year. Last year, it received 20,000 calls.

However, Zhu said figures were rising again. "We have seen an increase in phone calls in recent days."

He said the helpline has received dozens of phone calls daily since the summer holidays started in July.

There should be a peak in late August and early September, as girls call to ask for help after becoming pregnant following unprotected sex.

"We usually receive calls from around 2,000 pregnant girls and young women a year. Around 400 to 500 come to us at the end of the summer."


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