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August 14th, 2006
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Costa Ricans take this holiday seriously! And somewhere, tomorrow, 12 year old Carolina will be celebrating her third Mother’s Day having given birth at age 9.
A couple of months ago, I was chatting with one of my employees, a 20 something young lady who was working for me as an intern. The subject got around to young girls getting pregnant in high school (colegio). She told me that before she graduated eight girls had become pregnant. Her class size was twenty-nine.
I spoke with my wife about this. I thought that must have been an aberration affecting just this woman’s schoolmates. Boy was I off base. My wife works at the second largest CAJA hospital in Costa Rica, and she told me that their adolescent unit has about 50- 60 girls, ages 9 to 14, giving birth every month!
This was such a staggering number I sorta stored my wife’s words in the “Okaaay” part of my brain and never repeated them to anyone.
Now, one of Costa Rica’s larger newspapers prints:
The Clínica de Adolescentes at the Calderón Guardia reports 50 new adolescent pregnancies every month. At another small women’s hospital, 40 young girls between the ages of 10 and 14 gave birth in 2005. Another 1,151 young girls 15 and 19 also gave birth last year.
In Costa Rica it seems, 14.316 of the 71.584 births were to adolescent mothers.
So 20% of the births in Costa Rica are to adolescents, some as young as nine.
Wow.Filed under Costa Rica, Health & Education, Hmmm!, Life in Costa Rica | Comments (2)