– claims stepfather impregnated her
Doctors at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation are monitoring the condition of a 12-year old girl who is about to deliver her first baby.
The child was admitted to the country’s premier medical institution last Saturday after she was air-dashed from the Lethem Hospital where she was first taken after she began experiencing abdominal pains.
“She is due and we are monitoring her condition closely,” a source at the hospital’s Maternity Ward told this newspaper.
Kaieteur News understands that the child, who hails from a place called Caponarib in the Rupununi district, is claiming that she was impregnated by her stepfather.
“She was first taken to Lethem and she told the nurses there that her stepfather got her pregnant,” a resident of Lethem informed.
However, the man has vehemently denied the allegation.
According to reports, the man had also previously impregnated the child’s older sister.
He reportedly admitted that he is HIV positive and had infected the child’s mother. However, HIV tests conducted on the pregnant child returned a negative result.
A source close to the child’s family told Kaieteur News that her mother is defending her reputed husband, claiming that her daughter is mentally challenged.
Police however have detained the child’s mother and her reputed husband as they continue their probe.
The woman could not say however, who else might be responsible for her daughter’s present condition.
An official of the Child Care and Protection Agency of the Ministry of Human Services said that the unit is aware of the situation and is keeping a close eye on it through its Welfare Officers.
The latest incident comes to light days after a 15-year-old Amerindian girl gave birth to a full term baby at the Lethem Hospital. The man who was responsible for impregnating her was released by police last Friday on $50,000 bail after spending three days in custody.
In January this year, an Amerindian Chief from Region One was remanded to prison after he was charged on two counts of rape committed on his own daughter who is just 10-years-old.
The man was arrested after medical officials in Region One realised that the 10-year-old is four months pregnant. She had gone to a community health centre complaining of feeling ill.
Because of the child’s age, medical officials had to abort that pregnancy.
Also, earlier this year police in the North West District were hunting a man who impregnated an 11 year old girl, who had been living with him with the knowledge of her parents.
While the incidents are cause for concern, it is not too surprising, given the rate of teenage pregnancy in Guyana.
“The State of World Population 2013,” produced by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), lists Guyana among the six countries of the Caribbean with the highest prevalence of teenage pregnancy.
The UN report called on Governments to help girls achieve their full potential through education and adequate health services.
“Too often, society blames only the girl for getting pregnant,” said UNFPA executive director Babatunde Osotimehin.
“The reality is that adolescent pregnancy is most often not the result of a deliberate choice but rather the absence of choices, and of circumstances beyond a girl’s control,” he added. “It is a consequence of little or no access to school, employment, quality information and health care.”
It also points out that a country’s economy is also affected by teenage pregnancies as adolescent mothers are prevented from entering the workforce.
The report noted that out of the 7.3 million births, two million are to girls who are 14 years old or younger, many of whom suffer “grave long-term health and social consequences from pregnancy.”
The report says that an estimated 70,000 adolescents in developing countries die each year from complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
The report seeks to offer a new perspective on teenage pregnancy, looking not only at girls’ behaviour as a cause of early pregnancy but also at the actions of their families, communities and Governments.
Local authorities have indicated that incidents of teenage pregnancy in Guyana are most prevalent in the interior region, especially in the Rupununi.
The situation has led to calls from residents of Lethem for the establishment of a child protection office with more than one officer in that community.
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