The ombudsman’s office urged the authorities to take action in this regard, given that the forecasts are alarming in this administration, which already exceeds the figures of the previous administration.
The figures are alarming, the pregnancies of girls and teenagers in the country show in this administration a growing trend which worries the ombudsman who asked the authorities to take urgent action considering that on average until June of this administration there were 91 cases per day recorded .
“The Office of the Ombudsman is concerned that the lack of exercise and protection of the rights to education, sexual and reproductive health and sexual integrity, among others, is a reason for the vulnerability of girls and adolescents to become pregnant and, furthermore, as a result of pregnancy, there is a greater risk that these rights will be violated,” the institution said in a press release.
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Monitoring data from the Ministry of Health shows that the average number of pregnancies per day increased between 2021 and 2022, while last year the average number of pregnant girls and teenagers reached 90 per day, in the first six months of this year this has increased to 91.
“Data from the National Health Information Service – Epidemiological Surveillance (SNIS-VE) of the Ministry of Health and Sports show that in 2021 there were 39,747 pregnancies among girls and adolescents, which means that there were an average of 109 pregnancies per day of girls and teenagers between 10 and 19 years old in this guide. In 2022, until June 30, teenage pregnancies were 16,752, representing a total of 91 pregnancies per day,” the ombudsman said.
Compared to data from the rest of the region, the situation in the country is also alarming, as the rate of underage pregnancies is higher, according to data from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) survey.
“The State of World Population 2022 report by the United Nations Population Fund shows that the adolescent fertility rate in Latin America and the Caribbean between 2006 and 2015 was 59 births per 1,000 adolescents aged 15 to 19 years. Bolivia exceeds this rate with 71 births per 1,000 adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19.
The call for reflection issued by the Office of the Ombudsman is addressed to the state and the authorities to work for the prevention of this problem, which puts minors in a state of vulnerability and affects the development of their human rights.
“Pregnancy in childhood and adolescence means that participants see their life trajectories affected and their opportunities for development limited, multiplying their vulnerability to poverty, inequality, exclusion, violence and economic dependence,” he pointed out.
The figures were released this Monday to mark World Teen Pregnancy Prevention Day. The Ombudsman found gaps in the system that adversely affect the prevention and follow-up of these cases.
For example, it found that although the Department of Health is required by law to have a five-yearly teenage pregnancy index, it runs an annual one that has already identified the regions with the biggest problems. In these cases, subnational governments must implement budgetary changes and make every effort to counteract the unfavorable situation.
“The monitoring of this annual teenage pregnancy rate carried out in 2019 found that four departmental autonomous governments and 286 municipal autonomous governments exceeded the said rate. By 2020, the four departments maintained the index, while the number of autonomous municipal governments exceeding the index was reduced to 265.
The index is key to monitoring and drawing attention to change strategies of sub-national governments on the number of pregnancies among girls and adolescents, and is established as the responsibility of the Ministry of Health through Article 23 of Law 548, of the Code for Girls, Boys and the Office of the Ombudsman however, deplored that neither the Multi-Sectoral Comprehensive Development Plan (PDMI)/Multi-National Plan for Children and Adolescents (PPNNA) nor the Multi-National Plan to Prevent Adolescent and Youth Pregnancy 2015-2020 take it into account.
“Faced with this, (the Ombudsman’s office) calls on the governing body for childhood and adolescent issues and institutions with competences on the matter, such as the Multinational Directorate for Youth, the Ministry of Health and Sports, the autonomous territorial units at the sub-national level, to take into account the teen pregnancy index indicator to generate action guidelines in the programmatic dimension of the child and adolescent welfare system and to undertake differentiated actions and budget reallocations to combat this scourge.”
The institution reported that it contributes by providing informative and informative materials on this issue and reproductive sexual health, in coordination with non-governmental organizations, to the monitored 85 municipal governments.