Teenage pregnancy is avoided through dialogue and a vision for the future

When a teenager becomes a mother, her chances of completing her education and finding suitable employment diminish. For example, only 7.2% of girls who had their first child before the age of 19 completed university. This compared to more than double (18.4%), who achieved this by having children as adults.

These data, from 2017 with projections to 2020, can be found in the report Socioeconomic Consequences of Teenage Pregnancy in Ecuador, published by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

“The figures are very alarming, especially in rural areas where access to education, work or health is poor,” said Gabriela Becerra, of World Vision.

This organization has a teenage pregnancy prevention program, based on two axes: life skills and loving parenting.

The first point is to teach them how to structure a personal project, which implies that they can plan future activities. And the second is to get closer to the environment, to family relationships.

“It helps to have clear and defined goals; also, to channel the emotions ”.

At the age of 12, Karen Santana developed her life plan. In a notebook, he wrote down his short, medium and long term goals. In the first group, she wrote her high school diploma and her role as standard bearer; and in the second, enter the Faculty of Law. So far, at 17, he’s done both.

In the same role, Karen set another goal: to start a family and be a mother. “It won’t happen yet, I want to end my career and have some stability,” said the Manabí native.

For World Vision, it is essential to help young people see beyond the present moment; This is why they go to communities and give lectures on the importance of visualizing themselves in the future. Also around sexuality and individual care.

Silvia Pabón, responsible for Casa Saber Pega Full, attached to the Municipality of Quito, considers that it is necessary to have young trainers, so that they reach their peers. They carry the message of prevention and correct care of the body, the heart, the spirit. They also offer music or dance workshops; and medical checks.

Cindy Proaño is a 24 year old girl from Quito; One day ago, she decided to join this organization, as a leader, to teach about sexual and reproductive health in her community.

Today, he offers workshops, in which they address questions around first intimate relationships and contraceptives. “These are still subjects considered taboo.

Teens cannot talk about it at home and they look for spaces to answer questions. In schools, they don’t speak either ”.

Karen, for example, remembers that on campus, where she graduated, they avoided talking about sex. “Nicknames are still used for the sexual organs; they judged us when we asked where we could ask for contraception ”.

For women’s rights activist Virginia Gómez de la Torre, openness to dialogue with adolescents is fundamental for the prevention of pregnancy and transmitted diseases, such as HIV, syphilis, herpes and others. “Double protection must be provided: hormonal methods, like the T-chest or implants, and barrier methods, like the condom,” he says.

The Ministry of Health signed a co-financing agreement with UNFPA on the 12th of this month. It consists of receiving technical and financial assistance to undertake sexual and reproductive education actions; better access to contraception.

To carry out the actions, USD 4 million will be available in the country. They will allocate them to purchase intrauterine supplies, condoms and the like.

With this contribution, said Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos, better planning of resources and reducing the number of pregnancies is expected.

According to the National Plan for Sexual and Reproductive Health 2017-2021, Ecuador is the third Latin American country with the highest rate, among these age groups; behind Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.