Since 2011, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands’ (PPGNHI’s) Global Programs and the Modulo Anexo Materno-Infantil's (MAMI) have worked together to meet the need for improved sexual and reproductive health education for young people in the Dominican Republic.
Sexual behavior of teens in the Dominican Republic puts them at high risk for both STDs and pregnancy. A recent national study revealed that sexually active teens were more likely to have more than one sexual partner in the previous year than other age groups. Nationally, 15% of females and 23.5% of males have sexual intercourse before the age of 15. Less than 50% of sexually active teens used condoms during their last high-risk sexual encounter, and only 43.8% of sexually active teenage females used modern forms of contraception.
STDs--including HIV--are serious problems among teens in the Dominican Republic. 15% of Dominicans between the ages of 15 and 19 have had an STD, and half of all new cases of HIV occur among young people aged 15 to 24. The fertility rate among Dominicans aged 15 to 19 is more than twice the Caribbean average. Teen pregnancy has been shown to increase physical and mental health risks for women, and is a major contributor to poverty among women.
Batey residents face high levels of discrimination in Dominican society, and have some of the poorest health outcomes in the province. Many young people are isolated because they cannot attend school due to family expectations and discrimination based on migrant status. Batey residents’ HIV rate is 3.2% compared to less than 1% for Dominican society as a whole.
Modulo Anexo Materno-Infantil (MAMI)
Since 2010, PPGNHI’s Global Programs has provided technical assistance and financial support to MAMI’s comprehensive sex education goals in the eastern Dominican province of La Romana, home to hundreds of rural batey communities. PPGNHI and MAMI are both committed to increasing reproductive health access to the most vulnerable, and making sure youth have the information and access they need to make informed decisions about their own health. Our financial support and technical assistance made it possible to hire dedicated staff for education programming in the bateyes and to develop a peer education program for youth in there as well.
In 2011 MAMI delivered the first-ever sex education in 25 bateyes near the city of La Romana. With our support, MAMI’s education team developed and implemented sex education in both school and community settings for teens. In 2015, MAMI provided sex education to over 3,600 youth. MAMI also bolstered its adolescent peer education program giving adolescents both accurate sexual health content and leadership skills, and they have trained a total of 60 peer educators since 2013. Since we began partnering with MAMI, the education programs have contributed to a more than 400% increase in new family planning patients at MAMI’s clinic.
PPGNHI’s primary roles working with MAMI include:
- Technical Assistance
- Teen/Peer Education Training
- Funding Support
To date in the Dominican Republic, we have:
- 30 peer educators trained
- 3032 adolescent students that participated in sexuality education sessions
- 496 hours of sexuality education provided in middle and high schools
- 354 in- and out-of-school youth and community members reached through community outreach events and special workshops
- 6 community outreach events and workshops conducted
- 952 new family planning patients
- 1615 HIV tests completed with youth
- 124% increase in new teen family planning patients