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PREVENTING EARLY PREGNANCY OF ADOLESCENT GIRLS IN THE PROVINCES OF “HAUT-OGOOUE” AND MOYEN OGOOUE IN GABON

26 septembre 2019
Japanese Ambassador in Gabon, H.E. Mr. Masaaki Sato (left), Minister of National Education, H.E. Mr. Michel Menga (center) and UNFPA’s Resident Representative, Mr. Keita Ohashi, handshaking after the signing of exchange of note - ©

On 5 September 2019, following several discussions held with the Gabonese Government and the Japanese Government, Resident Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) of Gabon, Mr. Keita OHASHI, and the Ambassador of Japan in Gabon, H.E. Mr. Masaaki Sato signed an exchange of note for the grant of, 100,000,000 Japanese Yen, approximately 500 million FCFA, from Japan to the Gabonese Republic, under the presence of the Minister of National Education responsible for civic education, H.E. Mr. Michel Menga M'Essone.

Japanese Ambassador in Gabon, H.E. Mr. Masaaki Sato (left), Minister of National Education, H.E. Mr. Michel Menga (center) and UNFPA’s Resident Representative, Mr. Keita Ohashi, during the signing of exchange of note - ©

 

This project supports the implementation of the 7th UNFPA Country Programme 2018-2022. It comes through these additional funds mobilized from the Japanese Government to support the the extension of the programme on comprehensive sexual education into the provinces of Haut-Ogooué and Moyen-Ogooué, as in the province of Estuaire where the programme implementation has been already underway by the School and Normal Directorate (DGESN) and the National Directorate of Maternal and Child Health (DNSMI) in pilot primary and secondary schools.

 

In Gabon, maternal mortality ratio was estimated at 316 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2012. This high maternal mortality is partly explained by adolescent early pregnancy which is due to the lack of information and sexual education (89% of adolescents have no knowledge about the fertility period, 79% have poor knowledge of HIV / AIDS), legal and institutional barriers, forced and/or early marriage (in Gabon, the legal age of marriage is 15 for girls and 18 for boys and 11% of adolescent girls are married or living in a union) and low access to contraception (58% did not have access to contraception).

 

Early pregnancy is one of the major causes of obstetric fistula in women aged 15 to 24 (50%). A survey conducted in 2015 on pregnancy in school shows that 45% of teenage mothers faced academic difficulties, 44% repeated at least once, 8% dropped out of school and 3% have been expelled.

 

The two-year project will be implemented by the Ministries of National Education and Health in collaboration with UNFPA to "fight against early and unwanted pregnancies in the provinces of Haut-Ogooué and Moyen-Ogooué.”

 

In Gabon, young people account for 64.1% of the total population of which 34.7% are adolescents. Schooling for children aged 6-16 is compulsory, and the attendance rate is 93%. However, the phenomenon of early pregnancy has tainted this rate especially that of girls. The 2015 School-based Early Pregnancy Survey found that 51% of early pregnancy victims in school are students in lower secondary education, and this situation affects all levels of education. In addition, according to the 2012 Demographic and Health Survey, 28% of girls aged 15-19 have already had a fertile life (23% have at least one child, 5% were pregnant for the first time). 34% of maternal deaths among 15-19 years old are related with illegal abortions. This phenomenon is more severe in rural areas than in the city, hence those two provinces are selected.

 

Based on results of the 2015 survey, this project is planned and managed by UNFPA Gabon, for adolescents in school to improve their sexual and reproductive health needs, and contribute to pregnancy-free schooling.