Teenage pregnancy reaches an alarming rate

Over 30 percent of 15-19 year old girls in Zambia have already been pregnant or have had a child according to a UN joint statement released. UN resident Co-ordinator Kanni Wignaraja said this was an alarming rate of pregnancy among adolescents and attributed it to early marriage and adolescent pregnancy.

Zambia’s 2013 MDG Report indicates early marriage and adolescent pregnancy as two main triggers for the high maternal mortality rate in the country.

Over 30 percent of 15-19 year old girls in Zambia have already been pregnant or have had a child according to a UN joint statement released.

UN resident Co-ordinator Kanni Wignaraja said this was an alarming rate of pregnancy among adolescents and attributed it to early marriage and adolescent pregnancy.

“Zambia’s 2013 MDG Report indicates early marriage and adolescent pregnancy as two main triggers for the high maternal mortality rate in the country. About 42 percent of Zambian women are married before the age of 18. 38 mothers die each month due to complications relating to pregnancy and child birth,” Ms Wignaraja stated.

“Many of these mothers are teenagers. Unsafe abortions, obstetric fistula, hemorrhage and malnutrition often result in young mothers facing a heightened risk of maternal complications, death and disability.”

Obstetric fistulais is a medical condition in which a fistula (hole) develops between either the rectum and vagina or between the bladder and vagina after severe or failed childbirth, when adequate medical care is not available. It is considered a disease of poverty because of its tendency to occur in women in poor countries who do not have health resources comparable to developed nations.

And hemorrhage is the excessive discharge of blood from the blood at child birth.

She added that adolescent pregnancy was an abrupt disruption to education and an end to childhood.

Ms Wignaraja added that education and staying in school would play a major role in reducing teenage pregnancies.

She said education would also create awareness, delay early marriage and childbearing.

Ms. Wignaraja has since urged relevant authorities to help keep girls safe by enforcing laws that deter early marriages and harshly punish rape.

She further called upon authorities to actively promote access to birth control and reproductive health education.

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