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Teenage pregnancy on the rise

Thursday, October 31, 2013 | 11:55 AM    

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UNITED NATIONS (CMC) – A new United Nations report has spotlighted what it describes as the high rates of teenage pregnancies in the Caribbean and other developing countries.

The report, released here Wednesday, has called on Governments to help girls achieve their full potential through education and adequate health services.

“The State of World Population 2013,” produced by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), notes that out of the 7.3 million births, two million are to girls who are 14 or younger, many of whom suffer “grave long-term health and social consequences from pregnancy.”

The report says that an estimated 70,000 adolescents in developing countries die each year from complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

“Too often, society blames only the girl for getting pregnant,” said UNFPA executive director 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,” he added. “It is a consequence of little or no access to school, employment, quality information and health care.”

In the Caribbean, the countries with the highest rate of teen pregnancy are Belize, Guyana, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and St Vincent

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