Mon, 14 Aug 2000

Warning for teenagers

BOGOR (JP): Women who become pregnant between the ages of 15 and 19 are twice as vulnerable to death during childbirth as women between the ages of 20 and 34, an obstetrician said.

Raditya Wratsangka of the Indonesian Family Planning Clinic Association was speaking during a discussion here on Saturday on the reproductive health of teenagers. He also said babies born to teenage mothers were mostly weaker, especially in the first five years of life, than those born to women between 20 and 29 years of age.

Raditya, who also is a gynecologist, warned teenagers to be more careful in their sexual activities.

He also warned teenagers of unplanned pregnancy, which could lead to illegal abortion. "WHO (World Health Organization) assumes there are 4.2 million women in Asia, including between 750,000 and 1.5 million Indonesians, who have abortions each year."

High school students from Bogor and Jakarta took part in the one-day discussion organized by the Population Council at Novotel Bogor Hotel.

Ninuk Widyantoro, a psychologist at the Indonesian AIDS Foundation, was among the keynote speakers.

She said most Indonesian teenagers received limited information about sex. "Parents are worried that discussing contraceptives with teenagers could cause the teenagers do something improper ...." (21/sur)