While the Ebola outbreak raged through Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea in the summer of 2014, public life ground to a halt. The danger of congregating in groups meant that public institutions, like schools, shut down. But the months of sickness and segregation left a legacy for girls that’s only now starting to be felt: teenage pregnancy spiked, and some of the girls are now being victimized by the government’s education policies.
Data on teenage pregnancy in West Africa is difficult to obtain, especially as it’s often stigmatized and underreported. But Plan International, a children’s charity, said back in 2014 that teenage pregnancy rates in West Africa—already among some of the world’s highest—were on the rise.
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