The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has pledged its commitment and support to the reduction of teenage pregnancy in Liberia.
Speaking recently, UNFPA Country Director Fenosoa Ratsimanetrimanana said the UNFPA remains committed to providing support to the Government of Liberia to change the statistics on teenage pregnancy from bad to good.
His comment came at the start of a two-day traditional leader’s dialogue recently.
He notes that with support from the Embassy of Sweden, the UNFPA is implementing the “Empowered and Fulfilled” program in Southeastern Liberia.
Mr. Ratsimanetrimanana says young people in Liberia are faced with sexual and reproductive health challenges occasioned by early sexual debut, a society that tolerates rape and sexual abuse as well as social and traditional norms that promote early marriage.
According to Ratsimanetrimanana, despite making-up the highest proportion of the population, young people, especially adolescent girls, are faced with multiple socio-economic and health-related challenges, including lasting scar like fistula, multiple pregnancies and the negative impact on their ability to achieve their full potential.
He stresses that the Empowered and Fulfilled Program is intended to address the high rate of teenage pregnancy in Grand Kru, River Gee, Grand Gedeh and Maryland counties.
The UNFPA Country Director discloses that the program targets adolescents from 10 to 19 years as well as parents, teachers, service providers and community leaders.
Mr. Ratsimanetrimanana points out that Liberia should be a place where every pregnancy is wanted by choice and not by chance.He concludes that adolescent girls must be prepared to make informed decisions regarding their lives.
By Ethel A. Tweh–Edited by Winston W. Parley