With approximately 70,000 teenagers dying each year as a result of teenage pregnancy, the organization Save the Children is calling it a “global scandal” It is calling for people across the entire world to find a better way to educate teenagers about family planning and prevent such tragedies from continuing. In Africa and other developing nations, teenage pregnancy is the number one killer among adolescent girls, beating out disease, accidents, and violence.
Teenage Pregnancy Statistics Worldwide
- Worldwide, approximately 1 out of every 5 girls become pregnant before the age of 19.
- 99% of childbirth-related deaths occur in developing nations. This includes teenage pregnancy. The main reason is a lack of quality prenatal health care.
- Overall, about 10% of all births in the world are to teenage mothers.
- Girls age 14 and younger are at the highest risk for death.
- Teenage mothers in developing nations are 50% more likely to die from complications than women older than age 20.
- Babies of teenage mothers are twice as likely to die during childbirth as those who are born to older mothers.
Preventing teenage pregnancy is the key to preventing deaths
Preventing deaths from teenage pregnancy requires a multifaceted approach, especially in developing nations. Unlike developed countries such as the United States and Canada, education and quality health care often take a back seat to providing basic human needs- such as clean water, food, and shelter. Countries that are struggling to feed their citizens do not have the resources to launch a campaign to prevent young girls from becoming pregnant.
Another problem that many young women face in developing nations is a lack of equality. In some countries, women are still viewed as property and their needs mean very little to the patriarchal society. Human trafficking is a major problem in developing nations, with young girls being kidnapped and sold to the highest bidder. Countries that have little regard for women’s rights are not likely to launch a campaign to prevent teenage pregnancy.
How you can help
Everyone can help in the fight to end the high rates of teenage pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths among young girls. If your talents, education, and resources allow, consider volunteering for an organization that spends time teaching these young girls about family planning. Donating to such organizations can also help. If you can’t afford to volunteer or donate, use your own voice and social networks to speak out for girls who cannot speak for themselves. Save the Children’s message raises a very good point: it is up to everyone in the world to work together to prevent teenage pregnancy and the deaths related to it.
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