Wednesday, June 1, 2011
UNICEF 2011 Report Exposes Adolescents Early Sexual Intercourse
NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA (MB)- "Evidence shows that some adolescents engage in sexual relations in early adolescence that is 10 –14 years, and that girls are also more susceptible to HIV infections because of their inability to negotiate sex with their partners, or due to lack of access to condom.
This information was revealed by Ms. Sally Sadie Singhateh UNICEF Communication Specialist at a press conference held at the National Youth Council conference hall 27 May, 2011.
According to her, UNICEF flagship report on the World’s Children Report 2011, focuses on the 10 to 19 age bracket, which the United Nations report define as “Adolescents” adding that this years the UN report tittle; “Adolescence: an age of opportunity”.
The theme for the report, she said was identified for two key reasons firstly that is support of the second International Year of Youth, which began in August 2010. Secondly to create opportunities for adolescents at this stage in their lives by calling for stronger national policies, as well as targeting them with specific programs that provides them access to quality education and healthcare, while protecting them from rights abuses-placing much emphasis on girls.
UNICEF Communication Specialist added that it is estimated that one third of all new HIV cases involved young people aged 15 to 24.
In terms of education, she said nearly 71 million adolescents are out of school noting that the region most affected by this is the Sub-Saharan Africa, where 38 percent of adolescents do not attend school.
According to her, it is estimated that about 400,000 adolescents die every year from accident injuries alone, while one in every five suffers from a mental health or behavioral problem. Adolescents girls, she continued, run a greater risk of nutritional problems than boys, but was quick to say that both suffer from obesity, which is a growing concerns even in the developing and least developed countries.
She noted that the disadvantages of poverty, social status, gender, or disability often contribute to these poor social and economic conditions of millions of adolescents.
“It is only through investments that we can sustain the global investments we have made in the first decade of the lives of adolescents,” quoting the report statement.
In 2009, she disclosed that 18 percent of the global population constituted adolescents noting that about 88 percent of them live in developing countries, while an estimated 16 percent in the developed countries.
She stated that 81 million young people globally were out of work, mainly due to the absence of productive full-time employment.
She went on to pinpoint that social and cultural norms, which discriminate and exclude, are strong contributing threats to adolescent protection rights.
Female genital mutilation/ cutting, child marriage, sexual violence, and domestic child labour, UNICEF Communication Specialist said are the four abuses estimated to affect more adolescent girls than boys, making them more likely to miss out on school and be forced into marriage and early pregnancy.
Giving an example, she said child marriage is associated with a high likelihood of complications in pregnancy and childbirth, which she says is among the leading causes of death for girls between the ages of 15 to 19.
Such conditions, she remarked often deny their potential to reach their full capacity, and of their children also being also denied their rights, and growing up in poor conditions- and so the cycle of poverty and inequality repeats itself, she debunked.
Cliomate change, Sadie Singhateh disclosed that it is also fast in becoming an issue of concern for the adolescent group, for instance she noted that in natural disasters, a young child may likely die from the diaster or from a disease saying that a young person will suffer as a result of food shortages, inaqeduate water and sanitation systems, interrupted education, and familty seperation or displacement.
To address all these issues effectively. UNICEF Communication Specialist said stakeholders at all level must work together to ensure that adolescence truly becomes an age of opportunity.
She say at UNICEF, they continue to support governments, and collaborate with partnerts at the community, national, and global level to address the specific vulnerablilities, unique capacities, and developmental needs of adolescents, some of which she noted UNICEF have already mentioned.
On home front- The Gambia, she added that UNICEF will continue to support children and young people in the Gambia to fullfil the commitments of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimenation of all forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Millennium Development Goals adding that they (UNICEF) will use their equity approach.