Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

A Stranger's London

Teenage mothers

Nearly half the babies born to teenage mothers are unwanted, according to a new survey.

It shows that many teenage girls simply do not appreciate the importance of family planning or have difficulty with contraceptives, particularly the Pill.

The Institute for Social Studies in Medical Care says that of 533 teenage mothers interviewed, 15 percent never even thought of using a contraceptive even though none had wanted a baby.

Reasons included fear of consulting a doctor, worries about confidentiality or enlisting parental co-operation and religious inhibitions.

"Some of these reasons for failure to use birth control are difficult to combat since they spring from individual and sometimes irrational and unpredictable causes," says the Institute. But it suggests that many teenagers could be helped by more responsive family doctors or specialist family planning services.

More than 40 per cent of births to mothers aged 15-19 are illegitimate.

Bouncing baby boom!

Britain had a mini baby boom last year with fewer stillbirths and deaths. There were 634,000 births in England and Wales, 5,000 more than in 1983. But most striking was the improvement in baby health. Between 1979 and 1984 the annual number of stillbirths fell from 5,125 to 3,600. Deaths of babies under one year old went down from 8,100 to 6,000.

And the number of prenatal deaths - adding stillbirths to deaths of children under one week - fell from 9,400 to 6,400.

Britain has been a poor performer in child health. The latest figures show we are getting better at raising healthy children.

Binman sues over 'too heavy bag'

A dustman is suing a couple because he claims he hurt himself picking up their rubbish.

Bin mover Charles Jones, 38, trapped a nerve in his back and has been off work for five months.

He also has to wear a surgical collar after picking up the bag of rubbish which, he says, was filled with sand. Fork-lift driver James Greenaway of Lower Gornal, West Midlands, has now received a solicitors' letter accusing him of negligence. His wife Lynn said: "We have discovered that our insurance covers us for this sort of thing. However, we are not admitting liability."

Mr Jones, a dustman for 19 years is still receiving specialist treatment. One of his council bosses at Dudley said: "This action could be unique in Britain."

Scouting out the fakes

Identity cards have been issued to bob-a-job Scouts to prevent impersonators tricking people into giving them work.

The Scout Association has taken the step to stop unscrupulous youngsters cashing in on the traditional money-raising week.

Officials also hope the move will avoid householders being faced with outrageous demands for simple jobs. A spokesman said: "We have had complaints in the past that youths posing as Scouts were offered work and then demanded money, often in a threatening way. We do not work in this way.

"When we investigated these complaints we found the youths were not Scouts but were simply using our name. Youngsters who cannot produce the identity card will not be members of the movement."

Raider ends Raider ends up with a Mars bar

Shopkeeper Winnie Soulstone persuaded an armed raider to put his gun down then gave him a Mars bar. "I felt so sorry for him, he looked so dejected," said the 62-year-old widow who runs a general store in Marazion, Cornwall. Mrs Soulstone added: "I told him he'd almost given me a heart attack. He apologised and left. I called the police in case he tries the same thing again."

Detectives are looking for a slim man aged about 20. He is about 5ft 7in tall with fair hair.

Working wives

Behind most working mothers is a husband who wouldn't dream of doing the shopping or venturing into the kitchen.

According to a survey out next week, men take the attitude: "It's great for you to be working as long as it doesn't affect me in the slightest."

Good Housekeeping magazine says many mothers feel they don't get enough family help when they go out to work. Only 57 percent of 1,700 working women interviewed felt their partners were really supportive although 85 percent of partners claimed to support the working woman.

One working mother said: "My husband used to help more, but since we bought a dishwasher last year - which he seems to believe washes and irons the clothes, vacuums the carpet, mows the lawn, does the shopping, cleans the loos and makes the beds - he doesn't think I need his assistance any more."

But one of the biggest difficulties in being both wage-earner and mother came when the children fell ill.

The greatest complaint among women was having to take full responsibility for the household and the children, despite working as long and hard as their husbands.

Toyshop woman is left fortune

A shop manageress has been left £358,000 in her former boss's will. Mrs Joan Barrett, 59, earned £2 a week when she started work for toy and pet shop owner Arthur Caldwell 35 years ago.

Mrs Barrett, of St Helens, Mersey-side, said: "It's incredible. I really didn't want anything." Mr Caldwell, grief stricken at the death of his wife, commited suicide last year at 60. The couple had no children. Mrs Barrett said: "Mr Caldwell was such a very good, kind man. A better boss no one could have wished for."

Mr Barrett's 61-year-old husband Peter, an electrician, has not been able to work for seven years due to ill- health. He said: "The inheritance is tinged with sadness, as these things often are. We have both lost a good friend."

talking drums 1985-04-22 doe's ride to the presidency - general hannnaniya - gifex 1985