Minister of Public Health, Cornelius De Weever on Monday, December 9, 2013 attended a one-day high level Consultation Meeting on reducing adolescent pregnancy held in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.
Minister De Weever stated that in order for us to combat adolescent pregnancy we have to collaborate our efforts and partner together. Minister De Weever further believes that we should have a structured approach to sex education with counseling services, and access to information that is culturally sensitive.
According to UNFPA it is estimated that 20 percent of adolescents in the Caribbean have had at least one child by the age of 19, with a considerable percentage of adolescent girls giving birth before the age of 15. Each day in developing countries 20,000 girls below the age of 18 give birth and each year 7.3 million girls give birth below the age of 18. Out of this number two million are under the age of 14, according to the latest report on the state of the world population compiled by UNFPA. The rates of adolescent pregnancy in the Caribbean are among the highest in the world.
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) at the session pleaded with participants to act urgently to eliminate this social ill. The director further noted that the extent of the problem varies from country to country, and stressed what everyone needs to do, which is why they were all there to provide information.
The high level consultation organized by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and UNFPA, with support from the government of Trinidad and Tobago, sought to raise political commitment for the reduction of adolescent pregnancy in the region. Those in attendance comprised of 10 Ministers of Governments from across the region, other government officials, representatives from civil society, the private sector, youth organizations, the United Nations System and other international development partners.