Zambia 'must make efforts to improve maternal health'

More than 70,000 maternal deaths are recorded among adolescents in Zambia annually, with girls younger than 15 five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s.

Mary Otieno, the country representative with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), told the Times of Zambia a lack of knowledge about family planning methods is one factor in this worrying statistic.

She was speaking at a UNFPA briefing aimed at helping media organisations in the country cover issues around maternal mortality rates.

There is a need for the media to educate people about contraceptive and family planning techniques, explained Ms Otieno.

"Although UNFPA has taken a lead in implementing the Cairo consensus, its scope and depth requires the participation of a broad coalition of actors, the non-governmental organisations and the government," she added.

Reproductive health specialist Stephen Mupeta urged journalists to write objectively and sensibly about sexuality in order to help this process along.

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