Over 15 million teenage girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are reported to give birth every year following rape and s*xual assault.
United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, ‘A Field office’, in a statement yesterday said many of the pregnancies result from non-consensual sex.
According to UNICEF, despite advances in the last 20 years to checkmate such cases, there had been too little progress in preventing adolescent pregnancies, abortions, maternal deaths, sexually-transmitted infections and HIV.
“There are significant gaps in availability, quality and access to comprehensive sexuality education and services for young people, especially in low-income countries.
“Relatively simple and well-known interventions, like midwifery services and gender-based violence prevention and response, can make a huge difference if scaled up and coupled with investments in innovations, especially in the area of contraceptives,” the statement said.
The statement quoted Dr. Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF, as saying, “one in 40 fifteen year-old girls living in sub-Saharan Africa faces the risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth in her lifetime.”
The world body further noted that maternal mortality has declined, stressing that “in 2013, the global Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) was 210 maternal deaths per 100, 000 live births, down from 380 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births in 1990 (a 45% reduction).
”The global reduction of MMR has accelerated, with a 3.5% annual decline from 2000-2013, as compared with 1.4% between 1990 and 2000.
”However, at current trends, most countries will not achieve the MDG target of a 75% reduction in MMR from 1990 to 2015. An average decline of 5.5% or more every year since 1990 is needed to meet the target on time.”
UNICEF noted that Nigeria ranked among the ten countries with the highest burden of MMR, with over 40,000 cases.