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30% of young women deliver at home

NSB’s preliminary findings show that there is a need to make youth aware on safe sex

Health: Despite health facilities being more accessible, about 30 percent of women aged between 10 to 24 years still give birth at home.

This is one of the preliminary findings of a study on, ‘adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive heath,’ which the National Statistical Bureau (NSB) carried out and shared with stakeholders on December 31.

The findings state that about 31 percent of adolescents are married before 18 years while contraceptive use among women between 10 to 24 years was higher in the rural areas than in the urban, and more teenage pregnancy was reported in rural areas.

UNFPA defines an adolescent as a person in the age group of 10 to 19 years and youth are those between 15 to 24 years while a young person is someone in the age bracket of 10 to 24 years.

During the one-day consultative dissemination meeting, participants discussed various issues related to adolescents among which young women delivering at home was highlighted.

Some participants said young women preferred home delivery, as they were self conscious and aware of existing laws. As minors, participant said the girls are worried of the repercussions should concerned authorities find out that they are pregnant.

Contrary to the findings on home delivery, the preliminary findings state that more than 80 percent of the pregnant young women visit the antenatal care units four or more times during pregnancy.

NSB’s officiating chief research officer Lham Dorji said pregnancy is not a crime even though young women tend to think so thus preferring to deliver at home. “With 30 percent of the young women still delivering at homes, its risky for both the mother and the baby,” he said, adding it was important to make people aware of such risks for safe deliveries.

Lham Dorji said young people especially girls have equal right and freedom to have sex but they should know the practices of safe sex.

While youth have the right to everything just as an adult, UNFPA’s assistant resident representative Yeshey Dorji said youth must be responsible.

On the use of contraceptives, he said, an increasing number of young girls buy contraceptive pills from pharmacies despite condoms being freely available. “Young people should be aware that condoms not only prevent pregnancy but sexually transmitted diseases as well,” he said.

NSB officials said the study would be finalised at the end of this month.

By Dechen Tshomo

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