Dominican Republic among countries with most teen pregnancies
SANTO DOMINGO. The adolescent fertility rates in Latin America and the Caribbean have not gone down in the same proportion as global levels, and the projections show that they will continue to increase. Of six countries in the region which were studied, the Dominican Republic occupies the third position with the highest incidence of adolescent pregnancy, at 25%. It is only surpassed by Nicaragua and Honduras with 28% and 26%, respectively.
The study carried out in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic, stresses that among the factors associated with immature maternity are the characteristics of the adolescent’s home: the income of the parents, their levels of education and the level of poverty in the home. In addition to this, there are relevant contextual factors, such as the access to a comprehensive sexual education, to the different methods of family planning and to the guarantee of the exercise of their rights.
According to the findings of the investigation titled: “Experiences and stories on pregnancy and adolescents: An approach to the cultural, social and emotional factors”, in Latin America and the Caribbean, a third of the pregnancies correspond to minors less than 18 years of age and of these nearly 20% are less than 15.
Social inequality, the macho culture, the lack of public policies and of sexual education in schools could be the reasons that these cases are increasing.
For Maria Jesus Conde, the UNICEF representative in the country, this increase is unacceptable since besides the fact it has an impact on the rights of the girls, it affects their physical and emotional health, as well as its effects on the State and society as a group.
“In the Dominican Republic the prevention of pregnancy in adolescents is part of the public debate. We have obtained a plan for prevention, an inter-institutional commission has been created, but after years of working with the Ministry of Education in the Affective, Emotional and Sexual Program, today it still does not form part of the educational curriculum. We have to make an effort so that sex education is given in the schools,” stressed Maria Jesus Conde.
For her part, Brechje Van Lith, the director of the Plan in the country, stressed the importance of taking into account the realities that this study presents in order to define the most effective strategies that cover this issue of adolescent pregnancy. “We know that the governments of the region have defined their public policies regarding the issue, nevertheless, we can see that in very few countries have there been any advances,” Van Lith emphasized during a press conference.
The rural – immigrant and vulnerable urban population of Azua and Barahona, was the context used to carry out the study. In Azua, while the tradition of rural origin tolerates the unions of adolescent women with older men, the discourse in the urban middle-class is towards postponing the union until the University studies are concluded. Regarding the men, a common element is that their socialization comes about from the emotion of power, control and superiority.
March 11, 2015
Category: DR News |