More Must be Done to Reduce Unplanned Pregnancies – Dr. Hughes


Director General at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wesley Hughes, has said that more must be done to reduce unplanned pregnancies, especially among adolescents.
He was speaking at a one-day exhibition held yesterday (May 14) at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston as part of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the European Union-sponsored Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Programme.
He noted that while the project, which was launched three years ago, “has specifically targeted adolescents with strategic intervention to reduce pregnancies and the transmission of sexual transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, there is much more that needs to be done.”
Stating that 75 per cent of all pregnancies are unplanned, Dr. Hughes said: “the figure suggests that we have a lot of work to do in terms of changing behaviour, changing habits. This change will require a lot of strategies having to do with the family, school, churches, and non-governmental organizations.” The SRH project, which is being implemented by the government in collaboration with several non-governmental organizations, aims to provide universal access to integrated, gender sensitive and rights-based sexual reproductive health services, which are respectful and cognizant of the rights of each citizen.
The objective is to promote behaviour change in sexual and reproductive health practices, which would reduce vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Hughes noted that the project is expected to contribute to Jamaica’s efforts to achieve several of the Millennium Development Goals, such as poverty reduction, gender equality, reductions in HIV/ AIDS and maternal and infant mortality, and improve access to reproductive health services.
In his remarks, UNFPA Representative, Harold Robinson, said that his organization was pleased to be part of the project, as access to sexual and reproductive health services is critical in attaining sustainable development.
Mr. Robinson further noted that the material on display will go a far way in helping to improve the quality of life for the underserved sections of the population and address issues relating to the prevention of sexual transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS and maternal morbidity among adolescents and the youth.
The project specifically targets male and female adolescents aged 5-19 years; pre-adolescent and adolescent girls and boys aged 10-14 years; males age 20 and over; men and women with disabilities; and staff and volunteers of governmental and non-government agencies. These include health workers, social workers, guidance counsellors and parents of adolescents.

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