New Delhi: Pregnancy has emerged as the biggest killer across the globe for teenage girls, with a million teenagers dying annually, a report by international voluntary organisation Save the Children said here Thursday.
The report, ‘Every Woman’s Right’ said: “Girls under the age of 15 are five times more likely to die in pregnancy than women in their 20s. Babies born to younger mums are also at far greater risk and around one million babies born to adolescent girls die every year.”
Speaking of India, the report says that infant mortality rate for teenage mothers was 77 per 1,000 live births, while the total infant mortality rate was 47 per 1,000 (National family health survey – NFHS 3).
“India has a high maternal mortality ratio of 254 per 100,000 births,” the report said referring to NFHS 3 findings.
“In many countries it is normal for young girls to be married off and quickly become pregnant before their bodies have sufficiently developed.”
“This is a tragedy not just for those girls but also for their children. Babies are 60 percent more likely to die if their mother is under 18,” said Thomas Chandy, Save the Children India chief executive officer.
The report paints a grim picture of developing nations, saying: “A woman’s lifetime risk of maternal death – the probability that a 15 year old girl will ultimately die from a maternal cause – is 1 in 3,800 in developed countries but 1 in 150 in developing countries.”
“An estimated 10 million girls under 18 are married every year, or more than 25,000 every day.”
Even as contraception was not accessible or affordable for many women and girls, females are prevented from using it because of social or cultural prejudices, or myths about side-effects.
“This year, an estimated 80 million unintended or mistimed pregnancies will occur in developing countries,” Save the Children said.
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