When one usually thinks of the term “leading cause of death,” it’s in conjunction with cancer, smoking, drugs, or other types of illness or abuse. But pregnancy? That’s not usually what pops into one’s mind. But according to a new report from the British arm of charity Save the Children, pregnancy is the leading cause of death of teenage girls worldwide, something they are calling a “global scandal.”
In their report, aptly titled “How family planning saves children’s lives,” they claim that about 50,000 teenagers die a year due to complications from pregnancy and childbirth. Furthermore, almost a million babies that are born to teenage mothers tragically die each year before they turn one. “This is a tragedy not just for those girls but also for their children,” says Save the Children’s Chief Executive, Justin Forsyth. “Babies are 60 percent more likely to die if their mother is under 18.”
“The issue of children having children — and dying because their bodies are too immature to deliver the baby — is a global scandal,” says Forsyth.
This report is acting as a rally cry. The charity would like world organizations to promote birth control globally — especially in places like Africa, where childbirth is the number one leading cause of death of adolescents. “In the developing world, family planning isn’t just a lifestyle choice. Children’s lives depend on it,” Forsyth concluded.
The report will garner much attention in London on July 11 at a family planning summit hosted by the British government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
You can find out more about Save the Children’s report and efforts right here.
Image via Save the Children