Government and other concerned stakeholders are now equipped with a document which can be used to address adolescent pregnancy in a more strategic manner.
The Situation Analysis (SitAn) of Adolescent Pregnancy in Guyana was compiled by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and handed over on Wednesday to Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence and First Lady Sandra Granger.
The ceremony was hosted at the Ramada Princess Hotel where the findings were highlighted as well as immediate recommendations put forward. According to Chief Consultant, Dr. Morris Edwards, the objectives of the analysis were to obtain information about the status of adolescent pregnancies in Guyana by establishing the determining factors, needs and services while also prioritizing interventions.
As outlined in the SitAn, adolescent pregnancy as a percentage of all pregnancies in Guyana has remained between 19 to 22 per cent from 1997-2016. Rates of adolescent pregnancy remain high in hinterland regions.
Findings of this important survey point to the fact that high rates in adolescent pregnancy are not unique to Guyana. Factors associated with high rates of adolescent pregnancy include inequities such as poverty, lack of knowledge of comprehensive sex education, lack of access to contraceptives, early initiation to sex-sexual behavioural patterns, sexual violence and abuse.
In response to some of the findings, Minister Lawrence said that “the launching of this survey is timely, particularly since this is a growing global concern, not only for us here but for world leaders because; this matter is discussed at the very highest level. The focus and theme for this year is precisely a call on health personnel around the world to marshal their energies on this vulnerable group.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by First Lady Sandra Granger who said this means that a wide cross-section of society must be involved. Not to be forgotten, she noted is the involvement of the Public Security and Social Protection ministries which will address aspects of law enforcement, violence and abuse.
The First Lady also commended the efforts of the Ministry of Public Health and other partnering agencies for their interventions towards the reintegration of teenage mothers into society. This, she said, can very well serve as a foundation for more robust interventions to be spearheaded by the ministry.
Mrs. Granger added that “the situation analysis being presented here today may be a useful tool in determining how government agencies and the private sector, community faith-based organisations and other non-governmental organisations can combine their respective resources and develop the kind of strategies through which their efforts at reducing adolescent pregnancy and empowering our young people to make informed life choices may be achieved.”