20 pct of Vietnam teenage girls have unwanted pregnancy:statistics

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Health officials have flagged concerns again about adolescent pregnancy, with official statistics saying 20 percent of girls aged 10-19 become accidentally pregnant, Dan Tri online newspaper reported.

Speaking at a meeting to mark World Population Day, July 11, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien said the rate of unwanted pregnancy among teens is rising due to their limited knowledge of reproductive health and increase in premarital sex.

They face a high risk of complications, while babies born to physiologically underdeveloped girls face problems related to health and care, he said.

His ministry would focus on reducing adolescent pregnancies, he promised. 

A key strategy would be promotional activities to increase teenagers' awareness of the consequences of becoming pregnant and educate them about contraceptive measures and safe sex, he added.

Arthur Erken, the country representative of the United Nations Population Fund, agreed saying Vietnam needs to foster young women who would create changes in the community and the future generations of Vietnamese.

It needs to give them the opportunity to study and enjoy good health so that they can fully develop their capabilities, he said.

This would give them enough time before getting married and giving birth to healthy babies, he said. 

The main reasons for teen pregnancy are poverty and gender inequality, and it reflects the fact that there is not adequate protection for teenage girls, he said.

But the whole world too faces the problem of adolescent pregnancy, he said.

Globally, around 16 million women aged 15-19 give birth every year, and nine out of 10 young mothers are married, he said.

Earlier, at a meeting in April, similar concerns were raised when it was reported that there are around 300,000 cases of teenage abortion in Vietnam every year, making it the top country in Southeast Asia and fifth in the world.

They involved girls aged 15-19, 60-70 percent of them being students.

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