Society accused of ignoring real issues afffecting young women and girls

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The head of the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation (CFPA) has said society’s predujices are showing up in its response to a baby which was discarded at Crawl Bay last week.
Chief Executive Officer Adler Bynoe said that the public is only focussing on the mother seemingly forgetting that the child would have had a father.
“From the little that I have heard there has been a great emphasis on who is she, and what was she thinking. But I have not heard much being said as to who is he, the male that may have been invloved in the decision making process, regardless of what the situation was because there is still a lot which is unknown,” Bynoe said.
He stated further, “At the end of the day, both parties — male and female — would need to be provided with a tremendous amout of support to include counselling and other support.”
The premature baby boy, still attachecd to his umbilical cord and amniotic sack, was found in a plastic bag that was floating in the sea.
Police are yet to find the mother despite making an appeal for her to come forward.
The incident also sparked calls for laws to be passed to save unwanted babies.
Bynoe also spoke to what he termed a critical factor that is being ignored, which is that there are high incidences of adolescent pregnancies still occurring in the Caribbean.
According to the head of the CFPA, the birth rate for the general poulation in Antigua & Barbuda is about 14. However, the adolescent birth rate for girls between the ages of 15-19 is about 6-7.
“That puts Antigua & Barbuda second in the OECS region for adolescent fertility and that is still something we are still struggling to address. Coupled with that is the whole issue of adolescents not having adequate access to supportive structures to contraceptives and other areas.”
He also spoke to the issue of sexual education in schools as well as the need for other support progammes for young girls.
Bynoe said that unless these situations are addressed, young girls will continue to be placed in a “precarious” position.

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