Rising teenage pregnancy charges in east Asia Pacific spark health warning

Plan International issues call to action on teenage pregnancy, which is becoming less common in all other regions

Teenage maternity– the most difficult gunman of girls and women aged 15 to 19 in countries around the world- is growing in the east Asia-Pacific region, the only lieu where the rate is climbing.

A brand-new report from Plan International, Half a Billion Reasons, has called on governments to develop specific assistance and development policies to improve the lives of the world’s 500 million teenage girlfriends- an “invisible” cohort whose uplift could boost economies, increase domestic violence, and improve health and education.

Eighteen-year-old Celinda, from Bougainville island in Papua New Guinea, is mother to a two-year-old boy and seven months pregnant with her second child.

Her son Syl, was born outside, on the floor, in her village.

” I went to school but I stopped at grade four because I got married. I was 13 years old at the time. This gentleman always followed me on the path to academy .”

Her marriage to the man was blighted by consistent savagery, before Celinda was able to leave him.

” He ever beat me. We did not stay well together. I ever felt sore in my organization and I had fevers because he thumped me up. When nothing realise me- that’s when he beat me .”

Plan International representatives will meet 21 Australian members of parliament this week, from the Liberal, Labor, Greens and Nick Xenophon Team parties, would like to request that Australia’s foreign aid policy include strategies to assist adolescent girlfriends in developing countries, in particular, across the Asia Pacific.

Susanne Legena, the chief executive of Plan International Australia, said teenage girlfriends were invisible in Australia’s aid and development strategies, but that investment in them was unable to realise communities safer, healthier and more prosperous.

” Female genital mutilation, action underage matrimony, receiving less meat than their brethren, being removed from institution early, struggling to access family planning, trying to manage their spans without disgrace or handicap: these are just some of the things teenages worldwide contend with every day .”

Legena said teenage girls are broadly ignored in Australia’s aid and foreign policies.

” They scarcely pace a mention in Australia’s brand-new foreign policy white paper and in Dfat’s[ Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade] gender equality strategy’ girlfriends’ are only an afterthought. We can do better. We’re asking for a greater focus on teenage girls in aid and development and foreign policy. The United States has a standalone strategy for teenage girls, we are going to be able have one, very .”

In the Asia Pacific, teenage pregnancy rates abide obstinately high in some countries, and are growing in others.

Natalia, who is 19 and from Aileu in the highlands of Timor Leste, says she descent out of school as soon as she was pregnant. She hadn’t realised she could descend pregnant from having sexuality, and never received medical doctors throughout her maternity or labour.

” I even managed to hide it from their own families. When I went into labour I told my father I had back sorenes, but he soon detected I was having a baby .”

She has been abandoned by her boyfriend to grow their own children alone.

Natalia, from Timor Leste, fell pregnant as a adolescent accidentally, pointing her education. Photo: Ruth Carr/ UNFPA

The teenage birth rate for those aged 15 -to-1 9 in low- and middle-income countries in the east Asia Pacific has increased over the past 10 years, from 18 to 23 births in every 1,000. In all other regions, including sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the middle east, and north Africa, teenage birth rates are falling.

In Bangladesh, while the number of teenage deliveries has shown gradual wane, it remains extremely high, at 82 birth per 1,000. Virtually 60% of girlfriends are married before “theyre about” 18, and 22% before they are 15.

In the Philippines, where the age of consent is 12, the teenage birth rate has risen to 62 per 1,000. In Cambodia, the rate has jump-start from 46 births per 1,000 a little over ten years ago, to 52: while in Fiji, teen birth rates have risen to 45 per 1,000. In PNG 54 in every 1,000 deliveries were to teenaged mothers.

Australia’s teen birth rate is 12 per 1,000. The global teenage birth rate has sagged dramatically since the 1960 s. West Africa maintains the highest rate globally: 115 deliveries per 1,000.

Worldwide, pregnancy-related complications are the leading cause of extinction for those working aged 15 to 19, according to the world health organisation. And babies born to adolescent mothers are also much more likely to die.

” When a girl grows pregnant, she is usually disavowed her education, her childhood resolves and she becomes more vulnerable to savagery and poverty issues ,” Legena said.” Plan International has known for many years that until we focus our efforts on combating child wedding and early maternity, the authorities concerned will never transgress the cycle of privation .”

The Australian government does guide dedicated aid projects addressing women and girl children, and adolescents, including one of cooperating with Marie Stopes International Australia and WaterAid Australia, helping continue teenage daughters in PNG and Timor Leste in academy.

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