11 Jul 2013

UN says PNG must put more focus on adolescent pregnancy

4:38 am on 11 July 2013

The United Nations Population Fund says the Papua New Guinea government has to put more focus on adolescent pregnancy.

July 11 is World Population day, and the UNFPA, says it wants a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled.

A spokesperson for the UNFPA, Gilbert Hiawalyer, says at current rates the PNG population is doubling every 25 years, with 13 percent of babies born to women under the age of 19.

He says the welfare of pregnant adolescents is often ignored and the onus is on the government to lead a change, which could be done through its Youth Commission, but this needs to be properly resourced.

"Ensure that funding is available and their programmes are setting up youth centres in other areas where these young people can get help, and also we have Health Department who provide services as well but many of the health areas particularly in the health centres and hospitals are not youth friendly. For example a young woman or a young guy might want to go to family planning and the first question asked is 'are you married' and if you are not married, sorry we can't provide you service."

Gilbert Hiawalyer, of the United Nations Population Fund.