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Ethiopia plans to lower teenage pregnancy by half: Minister

Addis Ababa, October 2, 2023 (FBC) – Ethiopia plans to lower the 13 percent adolescent and youth pregnancy by half by 2030, Health Minister Lia Tadesse said.

The fourth National Adolescent and Youth Health (AYH) Forum under the theme “The Power of Partnership: Meaningful Adolescent and Youth Engagement for improved health” kicked off today.

In Ethiopia, the population of adolescents and youth (aged 10-24 years) is significant, making up a large portion of the total population.

According to the United Nations, as of 2021, there were approximately 32 million adolescents and youth in Ethiopia.

Thus, maintaining the health and well-being of young people is key strategy to produce healthy and productive citizens who can transform the overall economic and social development of the country.

The forum is aimed at increasing the level of meaningful adolescent and youth engagement in health programing, empowering adolescents and youth to make informed decision, ensuring access to quality, and equitable healthcare services.

In her opening remark, Minister Lia said that various strategies are put in place to ensure the participation of adolescent and youth towards creating healthy and productive citizen.

She added that partnership of stakeholders is of paramount importance in achieving the universal health coverage.

“The ministry has been designing and devising on the needed strategies as well as guidelines to enhance the youth and adolescent health in our country; focusing on key priority areas like reproductive health, teenage pregnancy, mental health which includes prevention of substance use and malnutrition, and all comprehensively addressing AIDS and communicable diseases,” Lia elaborated.

Women and Social Affairs Minister, Ergoge Tesfaye on her part said that such forums have significant important in ensuring the active participation of the youth.

She added that the active participation of youth is important towards achieving Ethiopia’s prosperity.

“In our country there are about 3000 youth centers; of which only 1500 of them are actively operating. Therefore, we should work on the remaining youth centers where they can be of service to the youth,” she emphasized.

WHO Representative to Ethiopia, Dr. Nahimanam Marie Rosette stated that this forum is timely when world leaders are pledging commitment to universal health coverage.

“You cannot have universal health coverage if such (adolescent and youth) huge dividend of the population is not accounted for or not included” she noted.

Today, the world has more young people than any other time in history and many of them are underserved, Dr Marie Rosette said, and added that this calls for redoubling efforts and make a change.

“I congratulate the government of Ethiopia for joining the unique commitments for adolescent wellbeing, driving positive change, and meaningfully engaging people so that we are shaping a brighter and inclusive future for all young people in Ethiopia,” she emphasized.

Several youth drawn from all over the country are participating at the three-day forum which is expected to discuss on adolescent and youth health issues.

All the four forums have entertained a range of youth health issues focused on technology and innovations thereby ensuring meaningful youth engagement in practice, according to local media ENA.

Aiming to unite young people in the largest-ever gathering for adolescent well-being, the Global Forum for Adolescents as part of the 1.8 Billion Young People for Change global campaign will be held in October 2023.

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