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UNFPA: why we need to invest in adolescent girls

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UNFPA: why we need to invest in adolescent girls

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has urged governments around the globe to invest in adolescent girls to expand their opportunities, resources, and skillsets.

The information is in a statement issued by Hajiya Kori Habib, the Media Associate of the Fund in Nigeria.

Habib stated that the Fund made the call as it released the findings of its research that revealed that nearly a third of women in developing countries begin childbearing at age 19 or younger.

She added that the research findings, released on Tuesday in New York, state that if governments invest in adolescent girls and boost their opportunities, it will help to avoid early and unintended pregnancies.

The media associate quoted the UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem, as saying “the repeat pregnancies we see among adolescent mothers are a glaring signpost that they desperately need sexual and reproductive health information and services.’’

She added that complications from childbirth are leading causes of death and injury for adolescent girls.

Kanem said that being an adolescent mother could also lead to grave violations of human rights and serious social consequences, including child marriage, intimate-partner violence, and mental health issues as child mothers face the highest risks.

The executive director, therefore, stressed the need for governments to invest in expanding adolescent girls’ resources and skills.

She said “when girls can meaningfully chart their own life course, motherhood in childhood will grow increasingly rare.’’

The report of the research recommended that policymakers should provide girls with comprehensive sex education, mentorship, social support, and quality health services.

It also recommended increased support for families and engagement of local organisations within a supportive policy and legal framework that recognises the rights, capacities, and needs of adolescents.

UNFPA is the UN sexual and reproductive health agency with the mission to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

The Fund calls for the realisation of reproductive rights for all, and access to sexual and reproductive health services, including quality maternal healthcare.

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