My English speech about health of teenagers
IPU 136th Assembly in Dhaka, April 2017 my speech
”Act now for adolescents: The role of parliamentarians in promoting adolescent health and well-being”
Today, more than 88 percent of teenagers and young adults live in the developing world. This means that the vast majority of young people don’t have access to good health care and often no health care at all.
While this poses serious problems for both girls and boys, the lack of good health care has greater impact on girls, and in particular for girls in the poorer regions of the world. In fact, the teenage years are a very sensitive time in a woman’s life. It is a time when her body begins to get sexual attention, which makes her more vulnerable to sexual abuse, child marriage, early pregnancy and HIV infections.
These are all serious health problems if you are a young girl living in the least developed parts of the world. Complications in pregnancy and childbirth are some of the main causes of death among young girls in ages 15-19, both in the least developed world and in the developing world.
Because young girls are at high risk for sexual abuse and rape, and have limited access to contraceptives, they are also at a greater risk of contracting HIV.
Lack of hygiene is another big problem. Access to clean water and to acceptable sanitary facilities are also crucial to girls in particular. In other words, if you are born as a girl, in many parts of the world, you are destined to live an unfortunate life with serious health risks.
Of course, this is unjust. Neither gender, nor age or where in the world you live should determine your right to a healthy life. This is a basic human right.
As parliamentarians, it is our responsibility to act, to ensure that adolescents have access to good health care.
To overcome the health problems young girls are facing, it’s important that we make sure that a feminist perspective is implemented in health policies. I'm impressed of UN Women's work for women and girls health and support that IPU should cooperate more whit UN Women.
We need to invest more in reproductive and sexual health, sexual education and increase access to information about these issues. In Sweden this is part of our national curriculum.
This is important not only because it’s a question of human rights but also because it means that girls can continue to go to school and later on become financially independent. It is a well known fact that when women and girls are given the chance to receive an education it has great benefits for the whole society.
This is why ensuring young girls well-being and lifting them out of poverty means lifting the world out of poverty. Together we can change the world and give girls a better start in life.