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World Population Day 2016: “Investing in Teenage Girls”

Health Watch   - G J E 4
  • World Population Day 2016 theme - Investing in Teenage Girls
  • Inspired by the public interest in Five-Billion-Day in July 11, 1987
  • Education of girls and elimination of malpractices - Aim of World Population Day 2016
World Population Day 2016 aims to focus on "Investing in Teenage Girls". The theme highlights challenges such as early marriage, early motherhood, reproductive rights and adolescent pregnancy. The initiative by The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) began in 1989 with the objective to focus on the importance of family planning, poverty, maternal health, gender equality and human rights.
World Population Day 2016: “Investing in Teenage Girls”
World Population Day 2016: “Investing in Teenage Girls”
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In many communities around the world, teenage girls are considered to be ready for marriage and motherhood as soon as they attain puberty. They are forced to stop further studies and are denied their rights and prospects.

‘Girls can bring about positive change in their communities when they know their rights and are empowered to make informed choices about their marriage and pregnancy.’
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Girls who continue their schooling and are further educated about their health and reproductive rights face other issues like malnutrition, illness and exploitation. These kinds of challenges are the focus of World Population Day.

UNFPA has aimed to end child marriage, minimize adolescent pregnancy and work towards women empowerment. Educating the teenage girls about the following aspects, form the main agenda of the theme "Investing in Teenage Girls".
  • Human rights
  • Reproductive rights
  • Health issues related to pregnancy
  • Complications of teenage pregnancy
  • Importance of nutrition
Girls can bring about positive change in their communities when they know their rights and are empowered to make informed choices about their marriage and pregnancy. The change is facilitated by giving them tools to help them stand up to the communities.

Health risks for a baby born to a teenage mother include:
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Deficiency diseases
  • Complications like asphyxia and forceps delivery during birth
  • Sexually transmitted diseases that may be passed from the mother to the baby
Health risks for the teenage mother include:
  • Lack of prenatal care
  • Malnutrition
  • Anemia
  • High blood pressure
  • Preeclampsia
  • Obstetric fistula
  • Postpartum hemorrhage
  • Maternal death
  • Postpartum depression
Facts about Teenage Pregnancy:
  • The most important causes of teenage pregnancy are early marriage, exploitation and poverty.
  • Every year, about 3 million girls worldwide resort to unsafe abortions that pose a risk to their health and lives.
  • Teenage pregnancy and childbirth are the second leading cause of death among girls aged 15-19 years, worldwide.
  • In 2014, about 25000 babies born belonged to mothers aged 15 to 19 years of age.
  • There has been a steady decrease in teenage pregnancy from 1991 to 2014 due to the reduction in sexual activity or by using birth control methods.
  • Young women living in foster care are more likely to become pregnant than those not in foster care.
  • The highest teen pregnancy rate in the industrialized world is in The United States.
UNFPA's programs have helped 11.2 million girls between ages 10 and 19, in 2015 alone. The girls have gained access to sexual and reproductive health services and information. UNFPA works with governments, civil society and other organizations to promote access to information, counseling and services to young people across the world. UNFPA recommends the integration of comprehensive sexuality education into the school curriculum across the world.

UNFPA has spread its wings across the world to:
  • Promote access to sexual and reproductive health
  • Promote gender equality across schools, villages and countries.
  • Access to reproductive health and reproductive rights
  • Strengthening health systems
  • Training midwives
  • Educating teenagers about sexual and reproductive health
  • Providing health services
UNFPA also aims to eliminate:
  • Child marriage
  • Female genital mutilation
  • Practices that violate girls' rights
  • Practices that perpetuate inequalities
  • Gender-based violence
References:
  1. 2016 Theme: Investing in teenage girl - (http://www.un.org/en/events/populationday/)
  2. World Population Day - (https:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Population_Day)
  3. Population Day - (http://www.unfpa.org/events/world-population-day)
  4. Teen Pregnancy - (http://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/about/index.htm)
Source: Medindia
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