UNITED NATIONS, Johannesburg—UNFPA, The United Nations Population Fund, will support eight African countries’ efforts to improve the reproductive health of adolescent girls.
“We are working specifically to ensure that the continent’s adolescent girls, between the ages of 15 and 19—some 45 million of whom live in Sub-Saharan Africa—get a good education, are able to decide whether and when to marry and have children, are protected from HIV, remain safe from violence, and have their fair share of opportunities to work and contribute to the economic development of their countries,” UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin announced today at the International Conference on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Africa.
Over the next three years, UNFPA will partner with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Tanzania to deliver a comprehensive set of sexual and reproductive health services for young people in order to reach disadvantaged and marginalized girls and young women, the ones at highest risk of poor sexual and reproductive health, violence and exploitation.
“We are the lead United Nations agency working to promote the sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights of young people. We are at work in over 150 countries, ensuring that young people have the information, services and supplies they need to make a safe, healthy and fulfilling transition from adolescence to adulthood,” Dr. Osotimehin said.
“Over the next three years, in partnership with governments and young people themselves, we will commit to making a tangible difference in the lives of millions of young people right across the continent. It is their rights we must uphold and it is they who are our best hope for a prosperous and peaceful Africa,” he added.
Pregnancy and childbirth-related complications are a leading cause of death of girls, 15 to 19, in developing countries. An estimated 7.3 million girls under age 18 give birth each year, a great percentage of which occurs in Africa.
UNFPA will establish programmes to ensure that young people in and out of school have access to age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education to prepare them for adult life. In addition, UNFPA will bring together governments, young people, the private sector and other stakeholders to assess the needs of young people to ensure that they are at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda and that they are offered full participation in all decision-making affecting their lives.
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