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Complications from pregnancy and child birth continue to be a leading cause of death among adolescent girls aged 15-19 in low- and middle-income countries. World Population Day 2013 aims to draw attention to adolescent pregnancy and the need to increase access to reproductive health education and services for today's youth.
About 16 million girls aged 15-19 give birth each year, and most of them are already married. Adolescent pregnancy has serious health, social and economic implications. Stillbirths and death are 50 percent more likely for babies born to mothers younger than 20 than for babies born to mothers aged 20-29. Very young adolescent pregnancy is especially dangerous as girls aged 10-14 are five times more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth than women in their early 20s.
Young women who avoid unintended pregnancy are more likely to stay in school, participate in the workforce, and have healthier, better-educated children. Adolescent girls have limited access to and use of family planning. In developing countries overall, 22 percent of adolescent girls (aged 15-19) who are married or in union use contraceptives, compared to 61 percent of married girls and women aged 15-49.
As the world’s largest bilateral donor in family planning, USAID is committed to promoting and protecting reproductive rights for all people and especially for the world's adolescents and youth. We support programs and research on adolescent health and development. Our approaches work to improve knowledge by using, for example, sexuality education and mass media, and to change behaviors, such as ensuring comprehensive sexuality education is coupled with improved access to contraceptive services.
Partnering to Ensure Access
World Population Day 2013 also marks the one year anniversary of the historic London Summit on Family Planning and the launch of Family Planning 2020. USAID is a core partner in this global partnership to support the right of women and girls to decide, freely and for themselves, whether, when and how many children they want to have. Improving access to family planning information and services for youth is an important priority for us in this partnership. The initiative aims to enable 120 million more women and girls to access family planning information and services by 2020. Read more about progress made on Family Planning 2020, and join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook with the #FP2020 hashtag.
Young people are the future, and we must work together to ensure this next generation is able to lead healthy and dignified lives.
Last updated: July 16, 2013