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Concern as 15% of teens becoming pregnant

By Carla Bridglal

"This poses an additional challenge on the medical system, the young people themselves and increases the spread of HIV/AIDS- which in turn puts more strain on the healthcare system and the economy," said Douglas.

He was speaking at the UN Development Programme's (UNDP) "Day of 7,000,000,000" activities on the Brian Lara Promenade, Port of Spain, yesterday.

Just before midnight on October 30 in the Philippines, baby Danica Camacho was chosen by the UN to represent the seven billionth person on Earth.

And in Trinidad, just after midnight yesterday at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, another little girl, Serise, was the first baby born in Trinidad and Tobago after this momentous event.

Two mothers, Giselle Nakhid-Youksee, who gave birth at Mt Hope, and Fern Cordner-Edwards, who gave birth at the Port of Spain General Hospital, received hampers from the UNDP for the double blessing of brand new babies who were among the new seven billion plus. The hampers were collected by Edward's husband Ricardo and Youksee's mother, Yolanda Nakhid.

The world's population may be exploding, but Trinidad's is actually slowing, with Central Statistical Office statistics projecting a decline in the local birth rate in 2011 from 2010. Trinidad also has one of the highest infant mortality rates for children under five in the region.

"It is a little too high in Trinidad – 35 deaths per thousand as compared to 22 in the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean," said UN resident coordinator Dr Marcia De Castro.

"Ninety-eight per cent of births are attended by a midwife or doctor, health institutions are available, and yet so many children don't reach the age of five," she said.

Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan responded to this, saying that the Ministry is putting things in place to reduce the infant mortality rate and the maternal mortality rate.

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