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Thursday, 23 June 2011 12:51

Brochure - Front Side

Teenage pregnancy is defined as births to girls aged 15-19 years. Young people in the Pacific region are not provided with adequate knowledge and skills about sexual reproductive health and have limited access to youth-friendly, gender-responsive sexual and reproductive services, including contraceptives.

Teenage pregnancy is associated with a number of negative outcomes for the mother, father, baby, community and the country’s economy.




FACTS AND FIGURES

  • The Pacific has some of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the world.
  • Studies have associated high rates of early, frequent and unprotected sexual activity among adolescents in the Pacific with early, unplanned and unwanted pregnancies
  • In the Marshall Islands and in Pohnpei State in the Federated States of Micronesia, nearly one in every five babies is born to a teenager
  • The proportion of births to teenage mothers range from a relatively low rate of 5% of total births in Tonga to as high as over 20% in Marshall Islands
  • The teenage fertility rate ranges from as low as 23 per 1000 women in Samoa to as high as 97 in the Marshall Islands (Figure1)
Figure1
  • In 2005 Marshall Islands teenagers accounted for nearly one-fifth of all pregnancies and this rate has continued to rise
  • Teenage pregnancy studies in the Pacific show low contraceptive use among young people
  • Health statistics from the Solomon Islands show 12% of women aged 15-19 had already begun childbearing, with 9% of 15 year old women having already had a child
  • Majority of teenage pregnancies in the Pacific region are to single women which implies that most pregnancies are unintended
  • Unintended pregnancies are associated with unsafe abortion practices
  • Studies in Fiji and Tonga show that maternal and newborn outcomes are poorer among young mothers under 19 years of age

PSYCOSOCIAL COSTS

  • Teenage mothers are more likely to leave school and not return
  • This lack of education can result in long term unemployment or job options that are poorly paid and insecure
  • The stigma associated with teenage pregnancy often leads to the mother being alienated from friends and family which can result in poor self esteem and loneliness
  • Loneliness can make the woman more vulnerable to unhealthy relationships such as domestic violence
  • Often the young mother does not have income to afford adequate health care or basic necessities such as food and clothing.
  • Young mothers often face rejection from family and are forced into early marriage

HEALTH & SOCIO-ECONOMIC COSTS

Brochure - Back Side
  • Early childbearing can result in damage to the reproductive tract and pregnancy complications such as obstructed labour, bleeding and toxaemia
  • As abortion is illegal in Pacific Island countries women with an unwanted pregnancy can often be forced to practice unsafe abortion, either self-induced or induced by untrained individuals. This can result in sepsis of the uterus and birth canal, haemorrhage, uterine perforation, cervical trauma and may cause infertility and chronic illness
  • In developing countries, maternal mortality in girls under 18 years of age is estimated to be two to five times higher than in women between 18 and 25
  • Children of teenage mothers have lower birth weights and higher risks of premature births, and of prenatal and neonatal mortality
  • Children of young mothers generally face poorer health and socio-economic outcomes
  • Pregnant teenage women often attend antenatal care late in pregnancy which can result in complications
  • Young people make up a significant proportion of country populations and they are major contributors to the labour force
  • Young mothers who have to care for their children and are unable to continue school or join the workforce are not able to contribute to a nation’s productivity and prosperity
  • Men who leave school prematurely to seek jobs to support the mother and child can cut off future opportunities for better education and employment
  • Teenage pregnancy contributes to the poverty cycle and hinders the achievement of Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Increase young people’s knowledge about: growth and development, reproduction, contraception and pregnancy responsible safe sex practices, responsible parenthood and respectful non-violent relationships.
  • Provide gender-responsive life skills education in areas such as decision making, communication and coping skills
  • Increase and improve access to and utilisation of adolescent sexual reproductive health services and resources especially provision of effective contraceptives
  • Increase political will to advocate and commit to prevention of early parenthood in young people
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 October 2011 11:12