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Feb 26, 2015

Healthy Living Looks at Teenage Pregnancy

Teenage pregnancy is not just a health concern for the nation; it is also a human rights issue.  Each and every child has the right to achieve their full potential and develop mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, but having a baby as a child abruptly ends a girl’s childhood. Tonight on Healthy Living, we look at the issue of teenage pregnancy.


Marleni Cuellar

“The Youth Enhancement Services Center for teen moms has been in existence for seventeen years. The center which sits on the compound of the Cleopatra White Polyclinic offers an invaluable service to young girls in a desperate situation.”


Lorna Tench, Outreach Coordinator, Center for Teen Moms, Y.E.S.
“I would say don’t judge them. Creole proverb says today fi me, tomorrow fi you.”


Lorna Tench

Lorna Tench is the Outreach Coordinator at the Center for Teen Moms. In Belize, teenage pregnancy is a persistent problem. On a yearly basis in Belize, there are one thousand four hundred to one thousand five hundred babies born to teen moms – which means that one out of every five babies born in this country are the dependents of teens. Lorna works with the girls preparing for motherhood at the Center. She says a typical cohort would have ten to twenty teen moms at a time.


Lorna Tench, Outreach Coordinator, Center for Teen Moms, YES

“The first thing is to find out where they can get help. Another thing is if the boyfriend is around. The most challenging thing is that the boyfriend is not there. So how does Y.E.S. help them when they come to the center? When they are here, we help them feel at home. That’s one thing. They have the kitchen here. They can come in they can relax. We have movies, birthing movie – we would actually want more of those – so that they can come in and watch what will happen. If they are a new mom, we prepare them before mentally so they don’t have a lot of trouble. Another thing we do is educational session and counseling.”


Marsha Wade

Young girls like Marsha Wade are beneficiaries of the program. Marsha is five months into her second pregnancy. She discovered the services of Y.E.S. and the Center for Teen Moms by a kind stranger she met on the street.


Marsha Wade, Teen Mom

“I meet this lady and she told me you have this place right next to Cleopatra White named Y.E.S., who help young mom like me who doesn’t have anywhere to turn to.  Hear you learn a lot as a young a mom, it’s your first time having a baby, it help you a lot as a young mom.”


Lorna Tench

“Our goal is to see them as they come in, understand what is happening now. Understand that their life is no more the same to make the switch. To move them from there to having the baby and walk them thru it and one of the questions we ask them is: what do you want for yourself now?”


Educating the girls on how to prevent another teen pregnancy is essential. For some time, government agencies and N.G.O.’s – have been advocating for better access to services for teens. You see, in Belize, to access education & services at the public clinics that could prevent teenage pregnancy, a young girl needs parental consent. But it’s a hard sell to parents and policy makers. Even though the average age of sexual initiation is mid-teens. And the youngest mom to give birth in Belize was twelve years old.”


Lorna Tench

“Right now this group that I have is between ages fifteen to nineteen. What has been the youngest you’ve seen so far. Thirteen – thirteen years old is the youngest and we’ve had about three, thirteen year olds.  Another important job is referral, there are certain things that I can’t do, we can’t do. We know our limit and we have to refer them somewhere to get that help that need provided. Like if they need a home. Some call and say, my mom put me out, my bf put me out, my grandmother put me out and so we have to pick up the phone and call human services.”


In addition to teaching the girls during pregnancy and delivery. Y.E.S. offers the essentials items, like newborn clothes and pampers to the moms when the baby arrives. And after the baby, they help the girls go back to school or refer them to the apprenticeship program if they prefer for work.


Lorna Tench

“We also help with what we call help hampers, we give them what they need sometimes we have milk, pampers but we mostly try to enforce breastfeeding. Here you have even counseling, you have a lot of things, they even send you back to school. As a young mom, here is the place to come, here is nice.”


The center relies on donations from the public to sustain the services they offer to the moms including baby items for their newborns.


Lorna Tench

“All of us, at one point in our life, fall. Pick them up dust them off and set them on the right track. That’s my philosophy.”


If you would like to assist or learn more about the services at the YES Center for Teen Moms call 203-0970 or drop in at the center on Princess Margaret Drive.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Healthy Living Looks at Teenage Pregnancy”

  1. Al Rich says:

    This rash of teen pregnancies is in direct relation to the decay of morality in the country. When young people have no positive outlet for their energies, they look for outlet in other ways.

    Sex education is important, teens need to know that their bodies will go through certain biological changes and feelings. All young people need to be taught the difference between sexual urges and love, one has nothing to do with the other.

    Please somebody help these young people. There was a time when teenage pregnancy was a family’s shame, now it is accepted. Family. Please people pray for a return to God, only heaven can change the course this country is on.

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