According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Venezuela has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world. Every 3 minutes, there is a birth from a teenage girl. This is not a new phenomenon.

Since 2014, Venezuela is experiencing an increase in adolescent pregnancy. In said year, 93 out of 1000 women, under 19, gave birth; in 2016, the rate increase to 95 out of 1,000.

According to the UNFPA, Venezuela has the highest rate in the region and has similar numbers to the sub-Saharan countries. The Bolivarian country also duplicates the Chilean rate (50 put of 1000) and is also higher than Haiti (75 out of 1000).

El Universal, one of the most influential newspapers in Venezuela, assured that it affects mainly the poorest and more vulnerable population. In the “Maternidad Concepción Palacios Hospital”, located in a vulnerable area, 3 out of 10 births are from a teenage mother.

Early pregnancy can have educational and labor consequences. For example, according to the Teenage Pregnancy Subcommittee in Venezuela, 72,1% of the teenage mothers drop out of school during and after pregnancy.

According to UNICEF Venezuela, the main causes of high teenage pregnancy rates are:

  • Teenage pregnancy is approved and valued within the family as a key element of women self-fulfillment
  • Despite sexual education and their knowledge of contraceptives, many of them still believe in many myths.
  • Poor quality of healthcare for adolescence and a lack of specialized resource
    Meanwhile, the UNFPA added that in Venezuela the age of first sexual activity has dropped to 12
  • Experts explained that, now days, girls try to become pregnant by the man who “controls the neighbors to get status and escape from family violence”.

How to improve reality

Andre Pereira, director of UNFPA Venezuela, assured that the organization is working together with the private sector to reduce the teenage pregnancy rate. The state government of Anzoátegui is working on a program of sexual education and responsibility that are accomplishing intermediate milestones.

The rest of Latin America

The region has an average fertility rate, when it comes to adolescents, of 76 out of 1000, higher than the Venezuelan rate; there are some other countries with elevate numbers. According to the UN’s organization, Guatemala has very similar numbers to the South American country. Colombia (84) and Bolivia (88) also need more governmental intervention.

Haiti (75), El Salvador (72), Argentina (68), Brazil and Peru (65), Paraguay (63), Uruguay (64), Costa Rica (61), and Cuba (53) have an average rate within the Latin American context. Chile is one of the best-ranked countries. In the austral nation, 52 out of 1000 women get pregnant.

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