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Teenage pregnancy rates 'a concern in Latin America'
Teenage motherhood is a concern and calls for urgent action, according to a panel of experts meeting to discuss women's health issues in Latin America.
Attendees at a seminar in Santiago, Chile - entitled Progress and Key Actions for Implementing the Cairo Programme of Action, 15 Years after Approval - agreed that young women in the region require greater access to information and education on sexual and reproductive issues.
Organised by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the seminar discussed the factors which contribute to high teenage pregnancy rates.
The experts agreed that economic, ethnic, generational and gender inequalities are at work, with most teenage mothers suffering social exclusion.
Consequently, there is a high likelihood that their own children will "continue immersed in the same dynamics", it was claimed.
Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of ECLAC, suggested that teenage pregnancy is "only one of the multiple challenges faced by young people in Latin America, especially women".
She added: "It is vital to increase investment, in the areas of sexual and reproductive health, education and employment for this segment of the population."
Last month, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of UNFPA, said that greater family planning support is needed if the global population is to be kept under control.