Forward of the International Day of the Girl Child, marked yearly on 11 October, Asa Torkelsson, the Fund’s Nation Director in Thailand, spoke to UN Information and defined how the UN is supporting entry to sexual and reproductive well being, particularly for younger individuals.
UN Information: How widespread is teen being pregnant in Thailand?
Asa Torkelsson: The Thai authorities, with the help of nationwide and worldwide companions like UNFPA, has made vital progress in lowering teen being pregnant over the previous decade. In 2011, the speed amongst girls aged 15 to 19 was 53.4 births per 1,000, the very best it has been in Thailand since data started.
Laws launched in 2016 aimed to halve the speed inside 10 years, however that focus on was reached by 2021, and now the purpose is to succeed in lower than 15 births per 1,000 by 2027. So, the statistics present that Thailand is doing very effectively, however extra work must be completed.
UN Information: What extra must be completed to drive down the speed of stripling pregnancies?
Asa Torkelsson: A spread of social points drives adolescent being pregnant. They embrace stigmatization about accessing contraception, gender inequality, poverty, sexual violence, and coercion in addition to detrimental attitudes about girls and women. Many efforts to cut back it additionally neglect to account for the essential function of boys and males. We have to make larger efforts to advertise a masculinity which listens to and respects the dignity of girls and women.
A extra holistic strategy is required to help women’ rights and to empower them to keep away from adolescent being pregnant. Such an strategy ought to embrace age-appropriate complete sexuality training for all younger individuals, the constructing of gender-equitable societies by empowering women and interesting males and boys, and measures to make sure entry to sexual and reproductive well being data in addition to companies that welcome them and facilitate their decisions.
We have to see the participation of younger individuals, households, and communities in establishing secure areas for younger individuals to debate their sexual and reproductive well being and their decisions of household planning.
UN Information: What function does stigmatization and discrimination play?
Asa Torkelsson: When younger women get pregnant, they will typically expertise discrimination wherever they’re on the planet, and that is actually true in Thailand. Thailand may be thought of a standard society in lots of respects and so pregnant teenagers could also be regarded with nice disapproval, in different phrases stigmatized.
UNFPA has met with many younger women who say they haven’t acquired helpful sexuality training whereas in school though that is a part of the curriculum. Others have stated that they felt uncomfortable or shamed for asking for contraception as a result of healthcare employees can be disdainful and would gossip behind their backs.
Within the worst circumstances, this discrimination and stigmatization forces adolescent moms to drop out of college and even to be abandoned by their very own household.
UN Information: What are the long-term impacts of stripling being pregnant?
Asa Torkelsson: Most teen pregnancies are unplanned and unintended and so typically result in many challenges.
Many adolescents usually are not but bodily prepared for being pregnant or childbirth and are subsequently extra susceptible to problems. In reality, early being pregnant is the chief contributor to demise amongst youthful women in Thailand.
Moreover, in Thailand, they are typically from lower-income households, and lots of are nutritionally depleted, rising the dangers related to being pregnant and childbearing.
Adolescent being pregnant takes an infinite toll on a lady’s training and income-earning potential, as many ladies cease going to highschool.
UN Information: How progressive is Thailand in sexual and reproductive well being points?
Asa Torkelsson: The Thai authorities has labored laborious to make sure the rights to sexual and reproductive well being for all individuals who reside in Thailand, together with younger individuals.
In 2002, the common well being protection system was launched, giving all individuals entry to well being care. This contains household planning companies and entry to a variety of contraception choices, such because the contraceptive tablet and long-acting contraception implants. From 2021, each younger Thai particular person was in a position to obtain as much as 10 free condoms every week.
And extra laws particularly geared toward addressing the problem of stripling being pregnant was enacted in 2016 as a part of the Act for the Prevention and Resolution of the Adolescent Being pregnant Drawback. The legislation ensures important rights for younger individuals, together with the best to training, particularly for adolescent women who get pregnant, stipulating that denying these rights is unlawful.
UN Information: Is the laws serving to to cut back teen being pregnant?
Asa Torkelsson: Efficient laws requires greater than its passing into legislation. There’s quite a lot of work to do in ensuring the healthcare sector in Thailand is correctly skilled on the brand new necessities in addition to find out how to take care of younger pregnant women.
Attitudes throughout society additionally want to alter and extra must be invested in training, particularly by way of the secondary degree, with a view to have interaction boys and clarify totally to ladies what their rights are.
It’s clear the federal government needs to make sure that younger individuals can entry and revel in rights to sexual and reproductive well being, as younger individuals in a quickly ageing society are thought of the important thing to future prosperity.
For its half, UNFPA is constructing a variety of latest partnerships with a view to help authorities efforts and to make sure younger individuals take pleasure in their rights, particularly these residing in distant areas, in ethnic communities, and people residing underneath the poverty line.
Our partnerships embrace working with the non-public sector, celebrities, on-line influencers, advocates with disabilities, and teams of susceptible younger individuals.
SDG 5: EMPOWER ALL WOMEN AND GIRLS BY 2030
- Finish all types of discrimination and violence in opposition to girls and women
- Remove such dangerous practices as early and compelled marriages and feminine genital mutilation
- Adapt and strengthen laws to advertise gender equality and empower girls and women
- Guarantee girls’s full and efficient participation and equal alternatives for management in political, financial, and public life
- Guarantee common entry to sexual and reproductive well being care
Globally, virtually half of all married girls presently lack decision-making energy over their sexual and reproductive well being and rights.
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