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7.3M Adolescent Girls Give Birth In Developing Countries Annually, UNFPA Report Says, Expresses Concern

“Around 7.3 million girls under the age of 18 give birth each year in developing countries, risking death and suffering that can only be addressed by changing social attitudes, a U.N. report said Wednesday,” Agence France-Presse reports (Ritchie, 10/30). In the report, “[t]he U.N. Population Fund [UNFPA] expressed particular alarm about the dangers facing girls 14 or younger, who account for two million of the 7.3 million births to women under 18 in developing countries,” the Associated Press writes, adding, “This group faces the gravest long-term social and health consequences from giving birth as teens” (Vinograd, 10/30). “The number of pregnancies is even higher and about 70,000 adolescents die every year in the developing world of childbirth-related causes — about 200 a day,” the Thomson Reuters Foundation notes.

“The report highlighted data which suggest that adolescent pregnancies are now less frequent in 54 developing countries, especially among girls under 15, though progress is slow,” Reuters writes, adding, “But in some regions the number of girls giving birth is projected to rise” (Caspani/Moloney, 10/30). “[A] review of U.N. data on fertility shows that [Bangladesh, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Mozambique and Niger] are countries where, in stark contrast to trends not only in the industrialized world but also among developing nations, overall fertility rates have fallen very little,” the Financial Times notes (Cohen, 10/30). The 2013 State of World Population report, titled “Motherhood in Childhood: Facing the Challenge of Adolescent Pregnancy,” “offers a new perspective on adolescent pregnancy, looking not only at the girls’ behavior as a cause of early pregnancy, but also at the actions of their families, communities and governments,” a UNFPA press release states (10/30). “The UNFPA said greater efforts should be made to keep girls in school, teach them about sexual health and change attitudes to gender roles,” Deutsche Welle adds (10/30). Devex features an interview with UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin (Stephens, 10/30).