One third of Vietnamese youths do not use contraceptive measures

Unexpected pregnancy remains a big problem as 34.6 percent of young Vietnamese people aged 20-24 do not use contraceptive measures, according to statistics announced on Monday.

The figures were released at a ceremony held in Hanoi on Monday to introduce the State of World Population 2013 Report issued by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The event was jointly organized by the UNFPA and the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union’s Central Adolescent Center, attracting the participation of more than 300 young people in the capital.

According to the report, some 7.3 million adolescent girls give birth each year worldwide, of whom 2 million are under 15. If current trends continued, this number could rise to 3 million a year in 2030.

Every day in developing countries, 20,000 girls below age 18 give birth. Nine in 10 of these births occur within marriage or a union. This has consequences on the health, education, employment and rights of an untold millions of girls, the report said.

In Vietnam, the rate of unexpected pregnancy and unsafe abortion remains high among young women, as 35.4 percent of adolescents aged 15-19 do not use contraceptive measures. Among young people aged 20-24, the rate is 34.6 percent.

In 2011, 46 in every 1,000 adolescents in Vietnam have children. This rate is higher than those for many other groups of population, including people with low-education background and ethnic minority people.

In every region in the world, “impoverished, poorly educated and rural girls” were more likely to get pregnant than their wealthier, more educated and more urban counterparts, the report said.

Immature mothers will have to suffer serious and prolonged consequences, physically and socially, resulted from early pregnancy.

Meanwhile, society often blamed “only the girl” for getting pregnant, said UNFPA executive director Babatunde Osotimehin.

“The reality is that adolescent pregnancy is most often not the result of a deliberate choice, but rather the absence of choices and of circumstances beyond a girl’s control. It is a consequence of little or no access to school, employment, quality information and healthcare,” he said.

The UNFPA report called for actions that “empower girls, uphold their basic human rights, and put them on equal footing with boys” to reduce the number of adolescent girls getting pregnant annually.

It considers education as one of the priority solutions to curb the trend of early pregnancy and protect girls’ human rights and well-being.

Girls who remained in school longer were less likely to become pregnant. Education also reduced the chances of child marriages and it delayed childbearing, eventually leading to healthier births, the reports said.