12 Aug 2011

Youth reproductive health a "time bomb"

7:34 am on 12 August 2011

A New Zealand MP says high unemployment, escalating rates of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted teenage pregnancies in the Pacific need urgent action.

The Chair of New Zealand's Parliamentarian's Group on Population and Development, Dr Jackie Blue says more than half of the people living in the Pacific are younger than twenty five and the population is expected to double within a generation.

She says International Youth Day today should focus the attention of governments and aid agencies in the region on youth issues such as improving reproductive health.

She says she supports moves to bring more women into Pacific parliaments on reserve seats as they would have a better understanding of the impact of women having no control over their fertility.

"With respect to the Pacific Island countries, it's to the governments really, it's to the aid agencies. Please prioritise youth sexual and reproductive health services. It's an absolute critical priority. It is a time bomb in the Pacific about to erupt."