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    Peer Reviewed

    Preventing teenage pregnancy.

    McGregor A

    Lancet. 1995 May 27; 345(8961):1358.

    Paul Livingstone Armstrong, 82, has sought to convince the medical profession and the general public of the known hazards of adolescent pregnancy since 1973. According to the "World Health Report" of the World Health Organization (WHO), maternal mortality rates at ages 15-19 are double those at 20-24; those at 10-14 are 5 times higher in some countries. In 14 African countries at least 50% of the women marry before age 18; in Niger, where nearly 50% marry before age 15, 2 out of 5 have one child by age 17. In China, due to family control, the maternal age range is 23-26; the paternal age range is 26-29. In Japan, 16% of women under 25 bear children; in the US, 43% do (1993 data). Livingstone Armstrong has produced demonstration kits with life-size plastic pelvises for ages 16, 19, and 23 for the Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, London, UK. In 1985, the World Health Assembly (WHA), whose meetings Livingstone Armstrong has attended steadily, approved a resolution urging governments to promote a delay in child bearing until both parents, but especially the mother, are adults--fully grown, adequately nourished, and disease-free. However, some governments viewed the resolution as useless because of the social, economic, and religious circumstances of their populations. Livingstone Armstrong continued his efforts and donated his kits in a limited, judicious manner to places such as one of the refugee camps along the Thai-Cambodian border. The result was genuine interest by delegations to the most recent WHA meeting and orders from Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Zambia for the kits, which are now being used in Gambia to train traditional birth attendants and village elders (all men).
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