The Teenage Pregnancy Strategy in England wasn't actually about teenage pregnancy - it was about conceptions in women younger than 18 years. But that's not a very snappy title. The strategy worked.
The key elements are reported as 'focused and sustained efforts to lower the prevalence of early pregnancy by
- raising awareness
- changing social norms
- increasing access to education and
- reliable contraception'.
'Sustained' is an important part of that - for the first few years little change was seen in the key metrics. It reminds me of a comment made by Jan Filochowksi in his book 'Too good to fail' about turning round failing hospitals - hard data always lag the reality, both on the way down (hospitals heading into the abyss) and on the way up. In the case of teenage pregnancy, the changes in awareness and social norms must have started before the change use of reliable contraception and sexual behaviour.
Keep doing the right thing and the change will follow (but how do you know you're doing the right thing if you can't see the change? It's a narrow line between confidence and arrogance). So very well done indeed to those who persuaded the payers to keep on funding the strategy through the early days.