Just look at the national rates of adolescent maternity to make sense of that phrase that says “God is everywhere, but attends in Buenos Aires.” While, in 2018 in Chaco, out of every thousand teenagers between 15 and 19, the fertility rate was 87.8,
in the city of Buenos Aires the figure was less than a fifth: 16.3 per thousand teenagers. The City is followed by Tierra del Fuego, with a rate of almost double: 30.8. Hence the curve does not stop ascending.
Towards the interior of the Buenos Aires territory, however, the panorama replicates the national heterogeneity. While Comuna 2, made up of the Recoleta neighborhood, has the lowest rate (2.5 per thousand teenagers were mothers between 2016 and 2018), Commune 8
multiply that number by more than 15: 39.2 every thousand teenagers in the same triennium. The neighborhoods that comprise it are Villa Lugano, Villa Soldati and Villa Riachuelo, located in the southern part of the City, the most delayed. The same goes for the communes that follow it: the 4 (Barracas, La Boca, Nueva Pompeya and Parque Patricios), with 37.2 mothers per thousand teenagers and 1 (Retiro, San Nicolás, Puerto Madero, San Telmo, Monserrat and Constitution), with 32 every thousand.
The conclusion is simple:
there is a direct relationship between unfavorable living conditions and inequality in access to the health system. The high rate of teenage pregnancy in the most vulnerable communes is just a sample.
“There are obvious inequalities in health in the North and South of the City. Obviously, those who have less material and symbolic capacity have greater difficulties in accessing the available resources, “acknowledges Fabián Portnoy, director of the Sexual Health, AIDS and ITS Coordination of the Buenos Aires Ministry of Health, the body that authorizes the aforementioned data. The study highlights that adolescent fertility rates recorded between 2016 and 2018 are lower than those of the previous triennium, however, heterogeneity persists.
“It is necessary to understand teenage pregnancy at the intersection between what maternity means in adolescents and young people of popular sectors (autonomy, pass to adulthood, social recognition,” own “project, among others) and the own difficulty of the State so that young women access information related to sexual and reproductive health, and their rights in general “, analyzes Sebastián Fuentes, researcher in the area of Flacso Education and co-coordinator of the area.
However, as it is, in most cases, an unplanned event, a pregnancy during adolescence
complexifies the life of the young mother.
“It's a huge responsibility for me. It's a love, all you want. I was a mom at 15 and just like I was a mom I had to leave school. I had to start working. Because it's okay, dad is, but man always takes longer to mature, “explained Karina, a 24-year-old mother, consulted for the study” Experiences of pregnancy, maternity and paternity in adolescence. School trajectories and public policies in the CABA “, held last year in the framework of an agreement between the Integral Evaluation Unit of the Quality and Educational Equity of the GCBA and the
Fundación Kaleidos, specialized in adolescence and early childhood, which has an accompaniment program for both teenage mothers and fathers, as well as their children. The field work included consultation with adolescents and young people attending schools located in communes 1, 4 and 8.
For Alejandra Sánchez Cabezas, founder of Surcos, a civil association that develops health programs in vulnerable communities,
unintentional pregnancy in adolescence is in turn cause and consequence of poverty. “It can affect the health of girls and their children, it is one of the main causes of dropping out of school at the secondary level and creates barriers at the time of employment, among other consequences,” he explains.
A priority axis
From the Buenos Aires Ministry of Health, the high fertility rates in the aforementioned communes coincide directly with the areas of greatest vulnerability. The Undersecretary of Primary, Ambulatory and Community Care, Gabriel Battistella, explains that, in order to reverse this situation, a strengthening of the first level of care was carried out in recent years, increasing the number of health centers (Cesac) and the number of professionals, mainly in the southern communes: 4, 7, 8, 9 and Barrio 31.
“Today we have 46 Cesac strategically distributed throughout the city of Buenos Aires. In addition, we define sexual health as one of the priority axes of the Ministry of Health and a campaign started in 2018 to promote access to practices of sexual health and contraceptive-related care, increasing human resources and the budget for that purpose, “Battistella explains. In addition, it details that the campaign also involved the Ministries of Human Development and Habitat and Education.
Sebastián Fuentes recognizes the state presence in these communes although, in his opinion, there are challenges ahead. ”
A more universal policy is missing, with good supervision, to ensure accessibility and fulfillment of rights to the entire education and health system, to guarantee effective access to rights and support programs in all centers, “he says. And stresses that also
the presence of Integral Sex Education (ESI) is diverse and unequal: there are schools that manage to institutionalize the ESI beyond the initiatives of good teachers, and others that have not yet achieved it.
“When there is a programmatic ESI, there are greater tools for prevention. And the absence is also noted in relation to the legal termination of pregnancy: this issue is not discussed, but the kids go through these situations, and there are few institutions that accompany “, deepens the specialist, co-author with Eleonor Faur of the aforementioned study.
The testimony of Nadia, a 23-year-old mother, is also recorded there. “I was in 3rd year. I had taken two subjects but for going on vacation to Uruguay I did not give them up. When I returned, I was a girlfriend, I got pregnant and changed my life completely. I left school because I worked in the morning and at night “, he explained to the pollsters.
For the specialists,
the permanence in the educational system is a key factor in the chain of events that will trigger -or not- a teenage pregnancy. So consider it, for example. Georgina Binstock, researcher and director of the Center for Population Studies and researcher at Conicet. “School attendance strongly marks reproductive behavior, not only in terms of a more systematic use of contraceptive methods, but also in what has to do with sexual initiation and in everything it means to have a child,” reflects Binstock , who believes that in recent years enormous progress has been achieved in terms of rate reduction. “But
culture does not change automatically“he adds.
This point is clearly seen in what concerns preventive behaviors. While all experts acknowledge that there is greater circulation of material on the different contraceptive methods available,
This alone is not enough for pregnancy prevention to become a habit.. “Personal care behaviors, both in adolescents and adults, are not linearly linked to information,” says Sánchez Cabezas, also president of the Community Health Council of the Argentine Society of Medicine. “Personal care must be linked to the context. social, equality between women and men, the possibility of accessing high quality social services “. Variables that are, for some, an acquired right while, for others, a dream to achieve. It all depends, to a large extent, on the place where it is born.
The motherhood of the youngest, in figures
- 16.3 per 1000 teenagers between 15 and 19 were mothers in the city of Buenos Aires during 2018
- 30% of young people who dropped out of secondary school throughout the country did so because of pregnancy or maternity (Source: National Plan for Prev. Of Unintended Pregnancy in Adolescence – ENIA)
- 80% of pregnancies of children under 15 are unintentional and most are the result of situations of abuse and rape (ENIA Plan)
- 70% of teenage pregnancies between 15 and 19 years of age at the national level are unintentional (ENIA Plan)
- 67% of adolescents and young people who do not study, do not work and do not look for work in the country, take care of children in their homes (ENIA Plan)
(tagsToTranslate) Teen pregnancy: in the City (t) the south has the highest rates – LA NACION
Publicado en el diario La Nación