July 11 marked World Population Day 2013, the annual event spearheaded by the United Nations which seeks to raise awareness about population issues. This year’s theme focused on adolescent pregnancy which Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, was keen to expand upon.
“The facts speak for themselves, around 16 million girls between the ages of 16 to 19 give birth a year, nine out of 10 are already married,” says Dr. Osotimehin.
In this interview with The Independent, Dr. Osotimehin speaks about the difficulties associated with adolescent pregnancy such as obstetric fistula, stillbirth and the increased risk of unsafe abortions. He also discusses UNFPA's work on family planning, including in highly sensitive cultural and religious contexts.
Human rights and not targets or numbers are the central driving force behind UNFPA's work, he explains: "The freedom to decide when and how many children to have, to empower women and give them information and to do so without coercion."
Read the full story by Dr. Sima Barmania on The Independent Blog