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Access To Family Planning Services Important For Adolescent Women

In a Huffington Post “Global Motherhood” opinion piece, UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin writes, “[I]t warms my heart to see that safe motherhood and women’s reproductive health are finally being recognized as important development issues,” but “millions of women in developing countries still lack even the most basic care during pregnancy,” leading to maternal death and injury and hundreds of millions of women lack access to family planning services, including modern contraceptives. “It is inexcusable that in the 21st century motherhood remains so dangerous for so many. It is not only morally wrong but also hampers economic development and the survival and well-being of families, communities and nations,” he writes.

Noting “maternal death [is] the most common cause of death for girls between 15 and 19 years old,” Osotimehin continues, “Both in my current job and when I was Minister of Health in Nigeria, I have seen the tremendous effect of investing in the education and health of adolescent girls. When a girl gets an education, has the power to delay her first pregnancy, and is healthy and equipped with the right skills and opportunities, she holds the key to unlocking many of the world’s most pressing problems: reducing maternal and child death, halting the spread of HIV, breaking the cycle of poverty, advancing gender equality and propelling countries’ social and economic development.” He concludes, “It is my sincere hope that all young people, including adolescent girls, will get the needed opportunities to realize their potential and to live fulfilling, healthy lives” (4/18).