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Improve the medical conditions of vulnerable teen mothers

ID:
5041
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Our goal
To ensure, that 150 teen mothers and their children, will receive the best medical care treatment in Cartagena-Colombia.
The Challenge

This project focuses on providing medical care to 150 teenage mothers and their children. Funds will be used to support medical staff salaries and a portion of the medical expenses provided through the medical center. The medical Center is established at the Social Complex in Cartagena. These resources will ensure that our teens receive the best quality medical care during and after their pregnancy. The center offers services in gynecology, nutrition, pediatrics, to beneficiaries, as well as basic medical screenings and laboratory exams.

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THE CHALLENGE:

Cartagena, is one of the cities in Colombia with the highest rates of teenage pregnancy (20.47%), this situation is closely related to extreme poverty, it is actually a poverty trap. Based on this, Juanfe Foundation has focus its plan of action over this objective and over this city in particular.

Latin America and the Caribbean is the region with the highest adolescent fertility in the world after Sub Sahara Africa. One third of pregnancies occur amongst girls aged less than 18 years of age, almost 20% of these ones are amongst girls aged less than 15 years. In addition to this problem, the risk of dying during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum is doubled among girls who become pregnant before the age of 15 years. (UNICEF/PLAN).

•    Medical complications associated with adolescent pregnancy include low weight gain, anemia, and pregnancy-induced hypertension (American Academy of Pediatrics).

•    Poverty, lack of education, and inadequate family contribute to a lack of adequate prenatal care, which account for the majority of negative health outcomes for the adolescent mother and her child (American Academy of Pediatrics). 

•    Teen pregnancy not only affects the mother but has potential effects on the children born to teen moms- teenage pregnancy is linked to higher rates of fetal death and infant mortality (UNICEF). 

•    The harsh reality of teenage pregnancy does not end after child birth.  Infants of adolescent mothers have an increased incidence of low birth weight, prematurity, developmental disabilities than those of older mothers (American Academy of Pediatrics).

YOUR CONTRIBUTION WILL BE SPECIFICALLY USED TO FUND PREGNANT ADOLESCENT AND THEIR CHILDREN:

  • Prenatal care: Most of teenage pregnancies are high-risk pregnancies. We provide regular prenatal care to our beneficiaries in our medical center. This includes medical fees, blood tests and imaging tests like ultrasound exams. We also provide education and counselling about the pregnancy, the mother´s and the infant´s health. 
  • Disease diagnosis and treatment: Early treatment can cure many problems and prevent others. The Foundation gives all the diagnosis and the basic treatment to prevent and treat diseases in teenage mothers and their children.  
  • Nutrition care: The nutritional status of young girls when becoming pregnant and during pregnancy can have significant influence on both fetal, infant and maternal health outcomes. The medical center has a nutritionist that performs nutrition assessments to all our beneficiaries and defines nutrition interventions for all of them, including food intake according to the beneficiaries’ diagnosis and stage of pregnancy, as well as the provision of vitamins and supplements to address micronutrient and macronutrient deficiencies. We also provide nutrition education and counselling to improve nutrition practices before and during pregnancy. 
  • Sexual health services: Our medical center offers unlimited sexual health services to our beneficiaries and the community in general. These include STI testing and treatment, contraception, pregnancy tests, help and advice about unplanned pregnancies. The medical center has nurses trained to provide advice about and prescribe contraception, and beneficiaries have free access to contraception.

Juanfe – a unique organization in Latin America

The Foundation created a 360-degrees model that aims to transform teenage mothers with low self-esteem into responsible mothers who are able to break the vicious circle of poverty. The intervention includes (i) psychological care to improve the mothers’ self-esteem, build their confidence, and develop their social skills, (ii) schooling (basic education) (iii) vocational training and (iv) sexual and reproductive health services. This comprehensive model is an innovative solution that has the long-term effect of ensuring a mother can generate income and improve her quality of life. The model encompasses three phases.

Phase I (MA phase- lasts one semester) focuses on values and empowerment for young mothers to develop their life plans and make informed choices about their future. It seeks to strengthen the self-esteem of each teenage mother with different activities throughout the semester. Sexual and reproductive health education guides the mothers towards a responsible sexual life. This first phase takes 6 months, and up to 150 teenage mothers attend the semester-long program. The adolescent mothers can be pregnant or have one child under 12 months of age. Throughout this first intervention, there is a strong emphasis on the psychological counseling and support to teenage mothers which takes 70% of the time. During the remaining 30% of program time, Juanfe offers training in vocational and life skills to enable them to improve their family’s living conditions. In addition, the mothers and their children receive medical care and work on issues of sexuality, nutrition, citizenship, among others.

Program participants attend Juanfe’s program four days per week from 8 am to 4 pm. They do not live in campus, as part of Juanfe’s strategy is to provide them with the tools they need to confront their reality and be able to break the vicious circle of poverty.

Phase II (ME phase- lasts two semesters) focuses on education and vocational training, enabling teens to return to secondary education or begin a technical career to obtain a stable job. A percentage 30% of them even go on to college. This phase continues to provide psychological support and medical care for program participants and their children.

Phase III (Employment and Entrepreneurship Office) helps adolescent mothers transition into the job market. Besides vocational training, mothers are trained on the formulation and implementation of business plans. Juanfe works with local and national corporations to identify suitable job opportunities in the city and connects young mothers with these formal labor market positions. This phase typically lasts between 4 to 6 months.

The Foundation also provides childcare for program participants through its Infant Development Center. Annually it hosts 200 children, who are identified as those most in need of attention and monitoring. The objective of this initiative is to improve babies’ physical and psychomotor development, strengthen the mother-child bond, and teach the young mothers how to care for their children. This also ensures greater retention of mothers in the programs and avoids dropouts.