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More money needed to prevent teenage pregnancies

The Dominican government spends millions in assisting pregnant teenagers, but according to experts, government programs does not provide sufficient resources to prevent these teens from getting pregnant in the first place.

The Ministry of Public Health, together with the Progressing with Solidarity Program (Prosoli) of the Vice Presidency of the Republic, the National Statistics Office with the backing of the United Nations Population Fund presented on Wednesday, 1 March 2017, the results of the study entitled, “A Map of Teenage Pregnancies in the Dominican Republic”

The estimated government investment in assisting pregnancies and maternity in teenagers is 33 times the investment in the National Plan to Prevent Pregnancy in Teenagers. The government spent RD$2.1 billion in 2015 (around US$44.7 million) to prevent pregnancies. The government spent RD$64 million that same year (US1.3 million) to prevent the pregnancies, despite data showing it is more cost-effective to prevent a pregnancy than to provide health services to pregnant teens.

The analysis showed that of 26 countries studied, the Dominican Republic is fifth in percentage of teenagers admitting to have had sex with a man 10 years older than they, or 10 percent of all.

The fertility rate among Dominican teenagers is 90 per 1,000, almost double the world average of 51 per 1,000.

The teenage pregnancy rate in the Dominican Republic was 20.5% in 2015, making it one of five leaders in Latin America in teenage pregnancies. In 2015, of 34,453 natural births, c-sections and abortions carried out on the country 27.35% of these were to teenage girls, according to the Ministry of Public Health statistics department (MSP).

The study shows that one of every four Dominican women (24%) between 20 and 49 years has had a child before her 18th birthday, and almost half (41%) before 20 years of age. Of those women 20 years older or younger, 13% reported to have lived with a man when she was 15 years or younger. The rate is even higher, or 38.4% for those 18 years.

61.4% of the teenagers in the Dominican Republic who had become pregnant are grouped in the two lowest quintiles in terms of household income. Poverty is definitely an important marker for teenage pregnancy. Other causes are entering unions at a young age, gender inequality, human rights obstacles, violence, sexual harassment and difficulties in the access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health services.

The overview of teenage pregnancies in the Dominican Republic was prepared to encourage authorities, civil society organizations and the general public to promote policies and prevention initiatives to reduce teenage pregnancy.

The provinces with the highest teenage pregnancies are Monseñor Nouel (Bonao) in the central region and and María Trinidad Sánchez in the northern region with 35 and 32% respectively. Next are San Juan de la Maguana (southwest) and San José de Ocoa (south) with 31%. Also San Cristóbal (south), Duarte (northeast) with 30%. Santo Domingo presents 21%, as does Independencia (south).

The local representative of the United Nations Population Fund, Rosa Elcarte visited President Danilo Medina at the Presidential Palace on 2 March 2017 to present the new “Map of Teenage Pregnancies in the Dominican Republic.”

During the visit she also highlighted the high percentage of teenage mothers that do not legally register their child at birth. This lack of legal identity later creates major problems for the child.

Elcarte said that statistics show that most of the children that are not registered when born in public hospitals are born to teenage mothers. 85% of all births are registered in the country. Elcarte urged increased efforts at public hospitals to ensure the mothers register the birth prior to leaving the hospital.

Source: DR1, 7dias

Mar 4, 2017

Category: DR News |

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Last updated September 24, 2017 at 9:02 PM
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