Reducing Teen Pregnancy in Rural Peru

Management Sciences for Health

In the rural Padre Abad district of Peru’s Ucayali region, located in the Amazon Rainforest, teenage girls are nearly twice as likely to have an early pregnancy between ages 15 and 19 than their peers across the country. 

Recently, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) gave an Innovation Challenge (INCH) Fund award to the Healthy Communities and Municipalities Project II project II (HCM II) in Peru to work on challenges related to adolescent health issues, including early pregnancy. The HCM II project is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by MSH. The project’s goal is to improve maternal-child health, family planning, and reproductive health through the promotion of a range of healthy practices, working with community members, health personnel, and local governments in the areas where the project is implemented. MSH’s INCH fund aims to identify promising innovations that have the potential to improve health outcomes and help replicate and scale tools, models and approaches that have proven effective.

The HCM II staff worked with 10 communities in the Padre Abad district over a period of four months to promote healthy family relationships between parents and adolescents; reinforce strategies to consider educational activities for adolescent development; and add prevention of teenage pregnancy to the agenda of the local government. Within the Ucayali region, the Padre Abad district has one of the highest percentages of adolescents that are pregnant or have given birth to at least one child.

Through a series of meetings and workshops focused on three groups—the family, the community, and the municipality—activities were organized that included family visits, workshops for parents to discuss adolescent and family health and communication, leadership workshops for teens, art contests, communication campaigns, and meetings with local officials. During one workshop, a teen from the Margarita community remarked, “If we became pregnant, all of our dreams will turn to water…nothing would be simple.”