5 Jan 2010

Lack of education linked to Vanuatu teenage birth rate hike

4:10 pm on 5 January 2010

An obstestrician in Vanuatu says a lack of schooling may be a factor behind the high rate of young women giving birth in the capital Port Vila last year.

Vila Central Hospital says a record 2492 women gave birth in 2009, with the highest percentage of mothers aged between 15 and 20.

Dr Jason Sly says changes in society may also contribute to more teenagers becoming parents.

"The status of women in society and the importance placed on education of women in society, just with general schooling, has been shown to result in significant changes in birth practices. So women who are in a country where they achieve a good level of education, for example completing high school, the birth rate in that population is going to be significantly lower than a country such as Vanuatu, where very few women would attend school beyond say the year eight level in high school."

Dr Jason Sly from Vila Central Hospital in Vanuatu.