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Screen_shot_2013-10-31_at_7.43.00_PMA survey conducted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNDP) reveals a high rate in teen pregnancies in developing countries.

 

The report states that over 7 million girls under the age of 18 are giving birth each year. Belize is listed among countries with one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the Caribbean Region.

 

The report states and we quote, “This group faces the gravest long-term social and health consequences from giving birth as teens.” The report looked at births to women under 18 worldwide, the underlying causes of teen pregnancy, and possible solutions to the problem, which the U.N. said is part of a vicious cycle of rights violations. 

 

The Fund's Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin said on Wednesday in London that, "Adolescent pregnancy is most often not the result of a deliberate choice, but rather the absence of choices," citing lack of access to an education, job opportunities or health care. The report went on to say that high rates of adolescent pregnancies correspond with other social problems, like powerlessness and poverty. In many instances, the pregnancies are a result of sexual violence.

 

Wednesday's report was careful to note that some girls under 18 want to become pregnant. It stressed the benefits of waiting — such as better health, educational and future income opportunities — and called for a new approach to curbing teen pregnancies that minimizes the emphasis placed on girls' behavior as an underlying cause. We contacted Dr. Natalia Beer at the Maternal and Child Health office at the Ministry of Health for statistics on a national scale, but could not furnish us with the report today.  Dr. Beer said that while it is a growing concern, the Ministry will be working closely with its social partners to address the issue. We’ll delve into that story in subsequent newscasts.

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