Concern grows about adolescent pregnancy in Cape Verde.

Abstract

This article reports a growing concern on the increasing rate of adolescent pregnancy in Cape Verde. A survey done in 1994 by the UN International Children's Emergency Fund showed that 45% of women studied had their first child when they were 20 years old or younger; 18% had their first child when they were younger than 18. According to Fernando Robalo, a sociologist working for the UN in Cape Verde's capital Praia, high rates of adolescent pregnancy are the result of economic, demographic, and sociocultural factors, with complex interactions. Early pregnancies present a devastating effect on the life of adolescents and, in turn, the society as a whole. Many experts believe that abortion in adolescents is on the rise, followed by abandonment of children. It is increasingly clear that to address the problem of adolescent pregnancies, coordination among institutions working on family issues must grow. Furthermore, adolescents ought to be given the possibility to participate in sports and in cultural and community activities, in order to use their energy in a healthy and productive way.

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