WASHINGTON DC —
Many countries commemorating World Population Day on Thursday and the focus this year is on adolescent pregnancy.
It is estimated that 16 million teenage girls give birth every year. Many are in Africa and other developing regions. The United Nations says many of the teenage girls suffer from complications during child birth that lead to disability, sterility or even death.
It says no one knows for sure how many terminated their pregnancies through unsafe abortions.
The UN also estimates that the global population will increase to 9 billion people by the year 2050. Currently a staggering number of people go hungry every day, while an almost equal number suffers from chronic health problems due to obesity.
Doctor Rutendo Bonde, clinical services director at the Population Services International-Zimbabwe says youth are facing many challenges.
“This sensitive topic demands global attention,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the Day, observed annually on July 11.
To address the problems associated with adolescent pregnancy, Mr. Ban stressed the need to get girls into primary school and enable them to receive a good education through their adolescence.
“When a young girl is educated, she is more likely to marry later, delay childbearing until she is ready, have healthier children, and earn a higher income.”
He also cited the need to provide all adolescents with age-appropriate, comprehensive education on sexuality, stating that this is especially important to empower young women to decide when and if they wish to become mothers.
Also vital is providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, as well as the maternal health services that women need.