31 Mar 2006

Marshall Islands leaders highlight concern over teen pregnancies

9:01 am on 31 March 2006

The Marshall Islands government has put the spotlight on the high rate of teen pregnancies at the opening of a three-day Girls' Forum in Majuro.

President Kessai Note and his wife Mary Note led a lineup of top government leaders who turned up in a show of concern about the teen pregnancy problem in this central Pacific nation.

Mrs Note told the seminar and a national radio audience that statistics show the Marshall Islands has the highest rate of babies born to teenagers in the entire Pacific region.

Government statistics show that since 2000, between 17 percent and 20 percent of all babies born each year have been to teenage mothers.

Mrs Note says teen pregnancy is a problem they have to address and reduce.

She says educational opportunities are an important way to counter the problem, and has praised the government for setting education as its highest priority.