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Pregnancy Complications Are Leading Killer Of Teenage Girls Worldwide, Save The Children Report Says

Pregnancy is the biggest killer of teenage girls worldwide, with one million girls annually dying, being injured, or contracting a disease because of pregnancy or childbirth, according to a report (.pdf) released Tuesday by Save the Children, the Daily Mail reports (6/26). “Save the Children also cited official data which revealed that nearly one million babies born to teenage mothers die each year before their first birthday,” Agence France-Presse writes. “Worldwide, one in five girls give birth before they turn 18, according to the report,” which also said that the risk of a 15-year-old dying in pregnancy or childbirth is five times higher than for a woman in her twenties, the news service notes.

Save the Children “urged the world to renew its focus on family planning with a summit set to take place in London next month highlighting U.N. figures showing pregnancy and childbirth as leading causes of death for adolescent girls,” AFP writes, adding, “The charity called for equal access to family planning for all women; for women’s rights to be guaranteed and enshrined in law; and for investment in education and health workers” (6/26). With an estimated 222 million women lacking access to modern contraception worldwide, Save the Children said in a press release, “Meeting the entire global need for contraception could prevent 30 percent of maternal deaths and 20 percent of neonatal deaths in the developing world — potentially saving 649,000 lives a year” (6/26).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.