JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Adolescent girls, who remain in school, are less likely to get pregnant.
  • Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean, Sheila Roseau, said data shows that girls, who complete their education, are also more likely to use contraception and prevent pregnancy.
  • The UNFPA Director was addressing a recent JIS Think Tank to discuss plans to reduce adolescent pregnancy in the Caribbean.

Adolescent girls, who remain in school, are less likely to get pregnant.

Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean, Sheila Roseau, said data shows that girls, who complete their education, are also more likely to use contraception and prevent pregnancy.

“You have more pregnant adolescents out of school than those who stay in school, so keeping them in school is a strategy that needs to be looked at,” Miss Roseau said.

“If they are informed and stay in school, there will be less unwanted pregnancies. If they are in school, they are learning,” she contended.

The UNFPA Director was addressing a recent JIS Think Tank to discuss plans to reduce adolescent pregnancy in the Caribbean.

It is estimated that around 20 per cent of women in the Caribbean have had at least one child by the age of 19 with a considerable percentage of adolescents giving birth before the age of 15.

Miss Roseau also pointed to the need for adolescent girls to have access to sex education and health services, noting that if they are informed there will be fewer unwanted pregnancies.

According to the UNFPA Director, pregnant adolescents are likely “to live in a cycle of poverty,” as without a sound education, they will not be able to seek good employment.       “They are not able to hold a job as they have to look about their children,” she added.

Reproductive Health Advisor at the UNFPA’s Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean, Dr. Mario Aguilar, cited forced sexual initiation, lack of access to contraceptives, and the early initiation of sex, as some of the contributing factors to adolescent pregnancy.

He noted also that adolescent girls often do not seek antenatal care early, which could have harmful effects for both the mother and the child.

“As a consequence of that they cannot identify potential problems that will affect them and the child in the future,” he said.

Dr. Aguilar informed that the percentage of deaths associated with early pregnancies is about 50 per cent higher when compared with mothers, who are adults.