HIV prevention as low as 23% among young people and adolescent
The 27th World population day with the themed “Investing in teenage girls” was observed to assured attention towards the poor plight of women and girls throughout globe last Monday.
Her Majesty the Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuck, President of RENEW and UNFPA’s Goodwill Ambassador, graced the occasion as the guest of honour at Royal Banquet Hall.
The world population day was jointly organized by RENEW (Respect, Educate, Nurture, Empower Women) in collaboration with Ministry of Education and Thimphu Thromde Education office with financial support from UNFPA IPPF SARO and EC.
The celebration concerns towards the empowerment of adolescent girls across the world and in Bhutan to acknowledge that women and girls are essential partners in sustainable development of nations. It is also to raise awareness about population growth and related issues.
With global population at seven billion, the people are presented with an opportunity and looming challenge as well. According to the RENEW, people are living more prosperous now than ever but strife challenges are ahead. Besides several global issues gender discrimination and abuse of women and girls is a pressing issue yet to be resolved.
The UNFPA’s Assistant Resident Representative, Yeshey Dorji, said, “There are evidence of adolescent fertility, rising sexual abuse and unwanted pregnancies, emerging suicides among the young people and particularly among adolescent girls.” He further added, “HIV is becoming younger and comprehensive knowledge on HIV prevention is as low as 23% among young people and adolescent.”
Yeshey Dorji, said that this could represent a need for the right kinds of public polices to ensure that everyone has freedom and access to the information and services they need to make good choices.
Like in many countries, a Bhutanese girl who reaches puberty is deemed by her family and community as ready for marriage, pregnancy and childbirth. Early marriage leads to early pregnancy and effectively closes the door to education and other opportunities for a better life. He said, “when a girl becomes pregnant, her present and future changes radically, and rarely for the better.” He further added, “Her education may end, her job prospects evaporate, and her vulnerabilities to poverty, exclusion and dependency multiply.”
The issues such as early marriages, teenagers’ pregnancies, deaths arising due to early motherhood and deprivations of school and wellbeing prospects continue to restrict girls.
The Assistant Representative said that millions of girls are forced into unwanted sex or mar- riage, putting them at risk of unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and dangerous childbirth. It is reported half of all sexual assaults worldwide are committed against girls aged 15 and below.
According to RENEW, the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an opportunity for teenage girls to claim their rights and realize their aspirations and transform the world. The success of the new agenda depends on how well teenage girls are supported.
The programme consisted of various culture programs followed by representation of youth perspective. Following the program, a youth programme led by RENEW youth volunteers DAISAN (Druk Adolescents’ Initiative for Sexual Awareness Network) showcased a special drama series titled “I”.
RENEW also launched Yeshey Dawa a drawing book for children. Yeshey Dawa is an animated character conceived to raise awareness on women and child rights in the country.