Government urged to Implement Health Policies for Teenage Mothers

1004 Views Kampala, Uganda
A new study, reported on in the current edition of the medical journal, Reproductive Health, says access to maternal health services are not only important, but critical to the improvement of health among teenage mothers. The study by Ugandan and Swedish scientists monitored more than 700 adult and adolescent mothers in Wakiso district for four months in 2007. The researchers observed the number of mothers seeking antenatal and post natal care and monitored stigmatization and violence experienced by the mothers. According to the World Health Organization (W-H-O), over half a million women die each year from complications of pregnancy or childbirth. During the International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo in 1994, governments from around the world endorsed the need to promote and protect the rights of adolescents to reproductive health information and care. However the situation in many countries does not reflect this recognition. The study in Wakiso found that a majority of the adolescent mothers dropped out of school due to pregnancy and were less likely to earn a salary compared to the adult mothers. As a result many teenagers did not attend antenatal care and their vulnerable position caused stigmatization by the community and abuse by their parents. The study concludes that the Government of Uganda needs to implement teenage-focused maternal health programs because adolescents show poorer health care seeking behavior for themselves and their children and lack vital social support. It recommends that adolescent friendly interventions such as pregnancy groups targeting to empower pregnant adolescents providing information on pregnancy, delivery and early childhood care need to be introduced and implemented.

 

Tagged with: maternal health