Working with Governments to Reduce Teen Pregnancy
Though lifetime fertility has fallen to 2.6 births per woman in the Dominican Republic, adolescents face limited access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services. The adolescent fertility rate remains high, at 98 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 19, and high rates of unintended pregnancy are still a problem.
Thanks to Profamilia, our Member Association in the Dominican Republic, who successfully secured the approval of the National Plan to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy in 2012, this reality is beginning to change. The group also led the creation of the Interagency Committee for the Prevention of Teen Pregnancy, an accountability mechanism responsible for monitoring the implementation of the plan.
This was a major victory, but Profamilia knew that it didn't necessarily mean there would be an adequate allocation of government resources to carry out the plan. That's why Profamilia conducted a costing analysis of the plan and ensured buy-in from government entities, including the Ministries of Health, Education, and Finance. After conducting the analysis, Profamilia was able to identify the resources required to reduce teenage pregnancy. The plan, with its associated costs, was endorsed and publicly presented by the Vice President in June 2013, and each of the Ministries involved agreed to allocate nearly $3 million between 2014 and 2016 for the plan’s implementation.
Profamilia capitalized on the momentum and political will they'd gained in order to take their advocacy one step further. Understanding that young people wouldn't use sexual and reproductive health services that didn’t meet their needs, Profamilia launched a social auditing process, replicating the model used by APLAFA in Panama. The audit, which the youth conducted themselves, included the implementation of a survey for both providers and clients about sexual and reproductive health services and educational programs.
The final results of this audit, as well as recommendations, were published and presented to government authorities. As a result, more than 1.9 million youth in the Dominican Republic have access to quality sexual and reproductive health care and information.