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UN Population Fund Hopes To Cut Teen Pregnancies 20% in Caribbean By 2019


           Sheila Roseau of the UNFPA

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean has a strategy to reduce of adolescent pregnancies across the region.

“The goal of this framework is to reduce adolescent pregnancy by 20 per cent by the year 2019,” said Sheila Roseau, director of the UNFPA’s sub-regional office. “The framework consists of five priority areas with key results.”

Roseau said the framework was developed in consultation with CARICOM member states, which recognized the “high prevalence rate of teen pregnancies in the region and agreed for something to be done about it.”

“They requested the support of the UNFPA to assist in putting that in place,” she said, adding that numerous regional consultations, including a high level meeting, were held over several months to prepare the document.

Roseau said that 20 per cent of women in the region 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.
“It was a very inclusive participatory process to arrive at the integrated strategic framework for the prevention of adolescent pregnancy,” she said.

Additionally, Roseau said the adolescent birth rate (per 1,000 women aged 15-19) varies across the countries, ranging from 26 out of 1,000 persons in Turks and Caicos to 97 in Guyana.

The UNFPA representative said that one of the key outcomes of the strategic framework is “having access to responsive sexual and reproductive health services, information and commodities.”


“In doing that, it is expected that we would strengthen and increase the availability of youth-friendly, non-judgmental and free from discrimination sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents,” she said.


These services, she said, should improve and increase the availability and use of information and counseling for adolescents on sexual and reproductive health issues.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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