Adolescent mothers can be found in all regions of Guyana, but in hinterland areas, poverty and not enough open communication about sex between teen girls and their parents, lead to an even higher concentration of teenage pregnancies.
The launch of a Situational Analysis on Adolescent Pregnancies in Guyana Wednesday revealed that the most prevalent cases are in the hinterland areas.
The situational analysis was conducted to understand what factors contribute to adolescent pregnancy in Guyana and to propose possible solutions to reduce its prevalence in the country.
Consultant for the report, Dr. Morris Edwards presented the findings at the Ramada Princess Hotel to an audience of key stakeholders.
“…we can conclude that girls who live in hinterland areas with little or no education and who are from the poorest households are the ones who are most likely to become pregnant as adolescents”, Dr. Edwards said.
The findings of the report revealed that adolescents from Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine show the highest birth and adolescent fertility rate.
Dr. Edwards said that those targeted for the report were pregnant teens, parents of teen mothers, fathers of the children of teen mothers, school children who were never pregnant and key informants in the health sector.
Dr. Edwards further addressed the contributing factors that are linked to the high rate of teenage pregnancy in the hinterland.
These included: lack of access to comprehensive sexuality education; sexual behavior; lack of access to and use of contraceptives; lack of knowledge of contraceptives; early child bearing; lack of economic opportunities; difficult relationships with parents and family members; alcohol consumption; minibus culture; school dropout; intergenerational pregnancy and exploitation of Indigenous peoples.
The report from the analysis which began in 2010 was Wednesday handed over to First Lady Sandra Granger and Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence.
First Lady, Sandra Granger at the launch of the programme said it would be useful measure to develop strategies aimed at reducing the high rate of teen pregnancies in the country.
With the aid to reduce the teenage pregnancy rate in Guyana the government has embarked on a number of strategies to empower teen mothers and even teen fathers.
The First Lady mentioned contraception is available for teen mothers at local health centres across the country.
Cultural presentations such as dance and dramatic poetry were done, highlighting the issues adolescent faced when they become young mothers.
Speaking about her experiences as a young teenage mother, Lynda Harris said that it was very challenging for her but fortunately she had her family’s support, unlike many other young mothers.
The young mother urged her fellow young colleagues to be wise and listen to their parents and take in their education.
Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence acknowledged the impact of the partnerships with United Nations Children Fund and United Nations Population Fund.
The report on the situational analysis on adolescent pregnancies handed over today was only a preliminary copy on which the First Lady and Minister of Public Health will review and sign off before releasing it to the public.
United Nations Children Fund representative for Guyana and Suriname, Sylvie Fouet said that UNICEF is pleased to be working with the government to deduct the amount of teen pregnancy in the country.
Other officials present at the launch include, Minister within the Ministry of Public of Health, Dr Karen Cummins; Dr. Oneka Scott, Maternal and Child Health acting Officer, Mr. Adler Bynoe, United Nations Population Fund representative and chair for the event, Dr. Patricee Douglas.