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Birth rate declines, but teenage pregnancies is major concern

Economy and Planning Minister Isidoro Santana released on 3 October 2017, a study that again alerts of the high maternal mortality and teenage pregnancy rates in the Dominican Republic. Researchers looked into birth rates, migration, sexual health, reproductive health, and aging and their relationship to population dynamics and sustainable development.

The study was carried out jointly with the United Nations’ Population Fund (UNPFA) and the Multilateral Cooperation Agency (DIGECOOM). The report, “Analysis of the Population Situation in the Dominican Republic,” indicates that maternal mortality in the DR is 101.8 for each 100,000 live births. This is classified as a “high level” given the standards of social and economic development in the country.

The research revealed that the highest percentage of maternal deaths in 2015 was in the 20 to 35 year age group accounting for almost three out of four deaths.

Neonatal mortality is still at 21 deaths for each 1,000 live births with 80% of the deaths happening in the first 28 days of life.

The report recommends the eradication of what it calls the “epidemic” of cesarean sections in the country that increases the risk of death. In addition it recommends the strengthening of the care of mothers and children in health centers and the community, better training of health personnel in obstetrics, improved infrastructure and availability of medicines.

Another part of the report talks about the prevalence of teenage pregnancies being associated with cultural aspects, poverty, and low level of education.

According to the Ministry of Public Health, 28% of births in 2014 were to teenage months and 20.5% of maternal deaths were among women aged 15-19.

UNPFA states that the Dominican Republic is in first place in the region for teenage marriages with 12% of women between 20 and 24 being married before ages 15 and 36% of them married before aged 18. The proportions are much higher in the lower income population segments.

The research revealed that while birth rates in the country have declined, the high birth rates for teenagers is closely related to poverty and the high inequality levels that in general characterize the population in the Dominican Republic. The researchers say that the country needs to take advantage of the present window of young demographics to boost economic development.

Source: DR1, Elcaribe

Oct 7, 2017

Category: DR News |

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Last updated December 17, 2017 at 1:23 AM
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