October 23, 2020

CARICOM, UNFPA plan to curb Caribbean teenage pregnancy by 2020


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imagesBy KNEWS

In effort to reduce at least by 20 per cent, adolescent pregnancy in CARICOM Member States, the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD), in collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat, has cultivated a Framework for the Reduction of Adolescent Pregnancy.

In 2011, the Caribbean Corporation on Health recognised teenage pregnancy as a pressing issue, to be addressed by all Member States. Recent regional statistics proved that the birth rate within the Caribbean ranges from 26 to 97 per 1,000 among girls aged 15 to 19 years old, with Guyana accounting for 97 out of every1000 births to teenage mothers.

This revelation saw, Director, United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) Sub-regional Office for the Caribbean Sheila Roseau saying; “We cannot talk about sustainable development without addressing in a serious way, the needs of young people who make up over 60 per cent of the population of CARICOM.

Teenage pregnancy is one of the major challenges standing in the way of girls’ education and their ability to achieve their full potential, especially when the necessary support systems are not in place.”

Consequently, a series of technical meetings were held in Trinidad and Tobago and St. Lucia, in effort to come up with a strategy to curb the instances of teenage pregnancy between the years of 2015 and 2020.

In May 2013 during the 24th meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development, Education and Culture, it was recommended that a Multi-sectorial and multidisciplinary Regional Task Force led by UNFPA, under the guidance of the CARICOM Secretariat, be established to support the development of the Adolescent Pregnancy Reduction Strategy and Plan.

The plan is to ensure that each Member State makes provisions for children to have access to age appropriate information about sexual education. Speaking on this particular matter, UNFPA Assistance Representative Patrice La Fleur, admitted that boys and girls in our society today, become sexually active as early as the age of 10.

Therefore, it was deemed necessary that all children have comprehensive information on sexuality and how to prevent and protect themselves as part of their school’s curriculum.

Additionally, the framework provides, in accordance with the World Health Organisation (WHO), quality sexual and reproductive health services and commodities. These services and commodities are to be made available, accessible, acceptable, appropriate, equitable, and effective to all adolescents by public health facilities within every Member State.

In keeping with the main objective of the framework, and ensuring that it has reached requirements set out in its strategic plan, all governments in the Caribbean are to adopt common legal standards concerning ages of marriage, consent, prosecution of perpetrators of sexual violence, and access to social protection, and sexual and reproductive health services.

The vision to be achieved by the year 2020 involves a system where governments in the Caribbean, exchange knowledge and information, while adopting good practices in addressing social determinants of adolescent pregnancy.

In ensuring that the Framework for the Reduction of Adolescent Pregnancy is a success, CARICOM and UNFPA has teamed up with UNICEF, PAHO/WHO, UNESCO, UN Women, UNAIDS, Government agencies, civil society, other international development partners and adolescent and youths.

For more on this story go to: http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2015/03/19/caricom-unfpa-plan-to-curb-caribbean-teenage-pregnancy-by-2020/

IMAGE: teenpregnancyutah.wordpress.com

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