Early childbearing is common in Sierra Leone: one out of three pregnancies occur among teenage girls (SL DHS 2008). Teenage pregnancies have negative effects on the survival of girls: 40% of maternal deaths occur among teenage girls (MICS 2010).
Through a sustained effort with development partners such as UN agencies, NGOs, CSOs and Youth Organisations, the Government aims to reduce by 2015 the adolescent fertility rate from 122 per 1000 15-19 year old girls (MICS 2010) to 110, and reduce the proportion of girls aged 15-19 that have begun childbearing from 34% (SL DHS 2008) to 30%.
The Government of Sierra Leone aims to reduce teenage pregnancy through two sets of interventions:
- At community level, partners work to improve access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights information (SRHR) and services for young people and to promote young women’s empowerment.
- At national level, the Government and its partners review existing policies to promote adolescent and young people’s access to SRHR.
Specific outputs should be the following:
1- Improved policy and legal environment to protect SRHR
2- Improved access for quality SRH, protection and education services
3- Comprehensive age appropriate information and education for adolescents and young people
4- Community, adolescent and young people empowered to prevent and respond to teenage pregnancy
5- Coordination, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in place and allowing proper management of the strategy.