The United Nations says culturally appropriate youth education is needed to combat high teenage pregnancy rates across the globe.
About 16 million girls under 18 years of age give birth each year across the world and 3.2 million have unsafe abortions, according to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Dr Annette Sachs Robertson, UNFPA Pacific director and representative, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat it is a lost opportunity when girls have babies “before their time”.
“They’re unable to fulfill their full potential in terms of education…, their contribution to their families and to themselves, and to the economy,” she said.
The UNFPA is using World Population Day on July 11 to urge nations to help in “breaking the cycle” of teenage pregnancy with targeted education and reproductive health services. More than 500 million of the world’s 600 million girls are in developing countries, according to the UNFPA.
Girls are staying in school longer… this has one of the greatest impacts actually on teenage pregnancies.