The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) says pregnant girls aged between 15 and 19 account for 70 000 of the 500 000 deaths related to childbirth complications worldwide.
UNICEF executive director, Ann Veneman, points out that forced marriages are a contributing factor to girls’ vulnerability to early pregnant, contracting HIV and being sexually abused. She was speaking at the launch of the 2009 State of the World’s Children in Johannesburg.
Veneman says these factors also contribute to young girls dropping out of school. She emphasised the need for girls to be educated, as an educated woman is most likely to delay childbirth and seek better health care.
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