San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica launches campaign to curb teen pregnancy

Costa Rican media this week launched a public awareness campaign aimed at reducing the number of teenage pregnancies in the country. The initiative, launched by the Costa Rican Health Ministry and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), hopes to reduce the 13,000-16,000 births by teenage mothers that take place each year, close to 16 percent of all childbirths in the country.

Additionally, each year some 500 babies are born to mothers under 15.

The campaign, called, “It’s not going to happen to me – decisions have consequences,” will be broadcast on television and radio spots in coming days.

“This is to tell young men and women that their decisions have consequences, and that they should try to make responsible and safe choices,” campaign promoter Óscar Valverde told local Radio ADN.

He added that, “We also have to provide the conditions that allow teenagers to make those responsible decisions.” That includes integral sexual education, promoting the rights of teenagers, and promoting a society that allows adolescents to “live free from violence, as many of the pregnancies are the product of abusive relationships,” he said.

Last Thursday, the UNFPA published data on Latin America and the Caribbean that shows the region ranks second in terms of the teenage birth rate, surpassed only by Sub-Saharan Africa.

Adolescent moms give birth to one in four babies in the region, the U.N. study showed. On a global level, 16 million women between the ages of 15 and 19 give birth each year.

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