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Hanna says doctors want less restrictions to prescribe contraceptives to sexually active children

Published:Tuesday | April 21, 2015 | 3:35 PMJovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer
Lisa Hanna

Youth Minister Lisa Hanna says doctors have been agitating for less restrictions to prescribe contraceptives for sexually active underage children living in certain circumstances.

Under Jamaican laws children under the age of 16 cannot consent to sex and medical personnel are constrained from acting in ways that may be construed as supporting the act.

Hanna says while the final position on the distribution of condoms in schools rests with the Education Ministry, there may be circumstances in which issuing contraception without certain restrictions is necessary.

She explains that when children seek contraceptives at health care facilities, doctors must ask for the parent or guardian.

Hanna says some doctors believe this requirement can turn off children from seeking help.

She says these same children may later end up pregnant or with a sexually transmitted disease.


Youth Minister Lisa Hanna speaking on The Gleaner's online current affairs programme, On the Record

Hanna says consultations are ongoing with the Education, Health and Youth ministries with a view to reviewing the relevant legislation.

Education Minister, Ronald Thwaites has reiterated that under his leadership, there will be no policy allowing the wide scale distribution of condoms in schools.

Speaking on a January edition of On the Record, he said condoms will only be given to students who principals and guidance counsellors determine are in need.

Chairman of the National Family Planning Board, Dr Sandra Knight, has been calling for minors to be given access to condoms and other reproductive health services.