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Concern raised over teenage motherhood

31 October 2013, 09:11

Nairobi - More than 200,000 local adolescent girls give birth per year.

This is according to the State of World Population 2013, that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released highlighting motherhood in childhood as a huge global problem, especially in developing countries where every year 7, 3 million girls under 18 give birth.

According to the report titled Motherhood in Childhood: Facing the Challenge of Adolescent Pregnancy, early pregnancy takes a toll on a girl’s health, education and rights. It also prevents her from realizing her potential and adversely impacts the baby.

“Too often, society blames only the girl for getting pregnant,” said UNFPA Executive Director, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin.

“The reality is that adolescent pregnancy is most often not the result of a deliberate choice, but rather the absence of choices, and of circumstances beyond a girl’s control. It is a consequence of little or no access to school, employment, quality information and health care.”
Osotimehin put the prevalence of such challenges into perspective.

“It is not just mothers and babies that suffer consequences, children, communities and nations’ economies are also affected. For example, if the more than 200 000 adolescent mothers in Kenya were employed instead of having become pregnant, $3.4 billion could have been added to the economy. This is equivalent to the value of Kenya’s entire construction sector,” said Osotimehin.

Meanwhile, UNFPA said globally of the 7.3 million births, 2 million were girls 14 or younger.

These, the agency said, suffered the gravest long-term health and social consequences from pregnancy, including high rates of maternal death and obstetric fistula.

– CAJ News


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