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Pregnancy complications leading cause of death for women aged 15-19

Friday, May 26, 2017

International News

Complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death globally for women aged 15-19 years, according to a World Health Organisation report.

This includes from haemorrhage, sepsis, obstructed labour, and complications from unsafe abortion.

In contrast, for girls aged 10-14, lower respiratory infections were the leading cause of death, and for boys in both age groups, the leading cause was injury from road accidents.

The study found 1.2 million adolescents (aged 10-19) die each year, with the majority of deaths due to preventable causes - frequently because services don’t exist, or young people don’t know about them or how to access them.

These deaths are overwhelmingly occurring in low and middle income countries, including approximately 80,000 in Western Pacific nations.

Women and girls in Fiji, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu have the second highest rate of maternal deaths in the world, after Sub-Saharan Africa.

Adolescents are undergoing rapid physical, sexual, social and emotional development and health services need to reflect that.

Treating them as old children or young adults doesn’t work – their voices need to be heard and included in policy decision-making.

"Adolescents have been entirely absent from national health plans for decades," says Dr Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organisation.

"Relatively small investments focused on adolescents now will not only result in healthy and empowered adults who thrive and contribute positively to their communities, but it will also result in healthier future generations, yielding enormous returns."

Family Planning in New Zealand

  • Family Planning offers free appointments for clients under 22.
  • We’ve changed the way we offer some services, like having phone consultations to make it easier for young people to access our services, like getting ECP and condoms over the phone.
  • We’ve worked hard to make sure young people have good access to highly-effective long acting reversible contraception, including encouraging the Government to add the Jadelle contraceptive implant to the list of Government-subsidised contraception.
  • Every year we deliver comprehensive sexuality education to schools, community groups, and tertiary and alternative education centres – touching the lives of around 4000 people every year.

Family Planning in Kiribati

  • We’ve been working in partnership with the Kiribati Family Health Association (KFHA) since 2012 with a focus on sexual and reproductive health services and education. 
  • One KFHA programme is the distribution of free condoms, partnering with 78 shops, kava bars, night clubs, petrol stations and toll booths in South Tarawa to stock the condoms. These are free for youth and other I-Kiribati to pick up at any time. In the past year, over 59,000 free condoms were distributed.
  • KFHA’s 20 peer educators carry out one-on-one counselling with their peers and regularly perform dramas and road shows. A recent study shows approximately 50% of youth aged 15-30 had seen a youth performance about sexual and reproductive health in the past three months.

Photo: Milikini Failautusi from Tuvalu Family Health Association

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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