Lancet CAH: Reducing adolescent motherhood in low-income and middle-income countries

5 December, 2020

Dear HIFA and CHIFA colleagues,

A new paper and linked commentary in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health notes that 'poor knowledge of sexual and reproductive health... increases risk of adolescent motherhood', and also underlines the need for greater understanding of adolescent reproductive health issues among health workers. (Reproductive health is the only area of health where availability of reliable, actionable healthcare information is explicitly stated as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, even though it is obvious such access is needed across the whole spectrum of health.)

CITATION: Taking stock of progress made in reducing adolescent motherhood in low-income and middle-income countries

Elsie Akwara, Shatha Elnakib

The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health

Published: November 24, 2020



'The authors [linked article below] note that in sub-Saharan Africa, *poor knowledge of sexual and reproductive health* [my emphassis], unmet need for contraception, inaccessibility of family-planning services, and widespread sexual violence converge to increase risk of adolescent motherhood. Other proximate factors such as early age of sexual debut and child marriage also propel early childbearing and unintended pregnancies. However, the structural environment also poses further barriers to accessing adolescent sexual and reproductive health services and information.'

'a nuanced and context-specific understanding of the needs of different groups of adolescents, taking into account their evolving capacity and the challenges they face in making reproductive decisions and acting on them, is crucial'

'potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on service disruption (modern contraception, pregnancy-related care, and safe abortion care) in LMICs suggests that reductions in access to modern contraceptives will result in increases in unintended pregnancies and increased demand for abortion services'

Linked article: Time trends and sociodemographic inequalities in the prevalence of adolescent motherhood in 74 low-income and middle-income countries: a population-based study

M Mamun Huda et al.

Published:November 24, 2020DOI:


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Best wishes, Neil

Joint Coordinator, HIFA Project on Family Planning

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: