Family Planning

For UNFPA, unplanned pregnancy is one the issues that most significantly affects the vulnerability of adolescents. Latin America and the Caribbean has the second highest rate of adolescent pregnancy in the world, approximately 70 live births per 1,000 women aged 15-19). On average, 38% of women in the region become pregnant before they reach the age of 20. Nearly 20% of live births in the region are by adolescent mothers. In the English-speaking Caribbean 82% of young men and 52% of young women between the ages of 10 and 18 report having had sex by the time they were 13 years old. This is closely related to two of the key goals of the Cairo Programme of Action, as maternal mortality in Latin America and the Caribbean is the leading cause of death among women aged 15-19, and the risk of dying during the first year of life is also higher when the mother is an adolescent (WHO, 2010). 
 
The above trends put into question the universalization of comprehensive sexuality education in the region. In this regard, the regional picture remains complex, with countries that exhibit significant progress such as Argentina, Cuba, Uruguay, Colombia, Ecuador and countries that ignore the issue, do not address it or show very little progress as is the case of most countries in Central America. While most LAC countries have signed a variety of international declarations and agreements in which comprehensive sexuality education is considered a human right, in particular for girls, boys, adolescents and youth (1994 ICPD to date) and a privileged strategy to contribute to human and social development in overcoming inequalities, yet there remain many challenges to overcome in order to achieve consensus and include comprehensive sexuality education as a constitutive element of quality education.

 

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