Guyana takes action to address high rate of teenage pregnancies: An urgent Public Health Issue

3 Jun 2022
Adolescent Health

The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the PAHO GUY Country Office and a project supported by the Global Canadian Affairs Project, held a stakeholder meeting to discuss adolescent health issues, innovative strategies, and interventions  to improve adolescent health outcomes at the national and regional levels to meet the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030

Young people are a sizable age group, comprising approximately 30% of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean. In Guyana, young people account for approximately 50% of the population. They are generally considered to be a "healthy" segment of the population. However, they are oftentimes faced with situations that could impact their health and well-being, and the relevant authorities often overlook their needs.

In Guyana, adolescents face challenges related to comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health, mental health, and teen pregnancies, including repeat pregnancies in teenagers and gender-based violence at the community and national levels. The high rate of teenage pregnancy representing 20- 24 % of all pregnant women, is a cause for concern. There is a need for proposed innovations to tackle this issue, including the social determinants of health.

Key Stakeholders meeting was held with representatives from PAHO/WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, and NGOs, including the stakeholders working with adolescents and youths who agreed to work together (multi-sectoral approach) to find solutions to the many challenges adolescents face in our society. Investing in health and education for young people and the alignment of policies (health, education, social and economic) will enable productivity and economic growth and improve the health and well-being of adolescents in Guyana.

The proposed plan is to develop interventions to reduce high rates of teenage pregnancies and will include the review of access to contraceptives in the targeted group. The proposed plan will consist of conducting focus group studies to determine why adolescents/youth have repeat pregnancies and how to deal with the social determinants of health in the less-served population.

PAHO will continue to support efforts to improve access to adolescent services and decrease the high incidence of teen pregnancy.