* reportedly impregnated by 35-year-old man
A 14-year-old girl, who was impregnated by a 35-year-old man, gave birth at the Georgetown Public Hospital on Tuesday, a source close to the hospital said.
According to reports, the teen was being raised by a guardian after her father died and her mother became ill.
However, a report from the Guyana Times today said an official from the Child Care and Protection Agency stated that the agency had not received any information on the matter from the hospital.
“We aren’t aware of this matter but the hospital has to send us a report. They usually do for any such cases occur,” the official said, adding that they would do so before the girl is discharged.
Junior Public Health Minister Dr Karen Cummings on Friday, when asked about what the ministry can do to help pregnant underage girls and why does the system continue to fail them, stated that the matter is a matter of the Education, Social Protection and Public Security ministries. She noted, however, that the Public Health Ministry is doing its best to help pregnant teens by implementing support groups in health centres across the country that offers counselling and family planning measures.
According to the United States Department Report on Human Rights for 2015, there is a high incidence of unreported cases of rape and sexual assault in Guyana. The Report had stated that a large number of cases of rape and other forms of sexual assaults go unreported to authorities, most likely due to fear of stigma, lack of confidence in authorities, retribution, or further violence.
The Report noted that while the law criminalises rape, including spousal rape; successful prosecution of cases are infrequent.
Jenel Sweatman, of School Health Unit within the Education Ministry said that once a child is under age the matter would be handed over to the Ministry of Social Protection and the Child Care and Protection Agency.
However, she stated that not all is lost when a child becomes pregnant. She stated that the Education Ministry has started the process of reintegration of the pregnant teens into schools outside of their communities, which will prevent stigma.
She stated that 16 girls are already being reintegrated to the health system, and as part of the initiative with the Public Health Ministry, “we give them a care package to help them prepare their baby bays.”
The United Nations Children’s Fund Situation Analysis of Children and Women in Guyana 2016, said teenage pregnancy is still a problem since about 15 per cent of girls between ages 15 and 19 had begun child bearing, with different rates depending on the area the girls live, their poverty status, and ethnicity.