TEENAGE BIRTHRATES CUT MORE THAN 40 PERCENT IN MARSHALLS

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HONOLULU, Hawaii (July 30, 1998 - PIDP/CPIS/Hulsen)---A Marshall Islands program, Youth to Youth, has helped reduce teenage pregnancy rates by more than 40 percent over a period of six years.

The long-term results of the successful project included the likelihood of healthier babies in the future --since babies born to adult women tend to be healthier than those born to teenagers-- and the lessening of over-population pressures in the Marshalls, where land is scarce.

Among the reasons for the success of the Youth to Youth project, says Mele Look of Honolulu's Queen's Health Systems, is that culturally-appropriate ways are used to deliver the program's messages, including music, theater and myth. Also, young people themselves are involved, communicating to others their same age the difficulties unplanned pregnancies create.

Youth to Youth has been in operation for twelve years with support from the Marshall Islands government, the U.S. Department of the Interior and other organizations.

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