Development of a comprehensive public policy for adolescent pregnancy prevention in Uruguay

López-Gómez et al.

This article presents the main characteristics and achievements of Uruguay’s National and Intersectoral Strategy for Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy, implemented from 2016 to 2020. This strategy was implemented in a context in which unintentional adolescent pregnancy continues to be a major social problem for Uruguay and the Region, necessitating comprehensive, sustained, and evidence-based public policies. In Uruguay, adolescent fertility rates have remained high for over a decade. In addition to intersectoral action by government and civil society, the strategy received scientific assistance from the academic community, and technical and financial cooperation from regional and international organizations. Its actions and measures were adopted
based on a socio-ecological vision, with cultural sensitivity, a gender-transformative approach, and a human rights perspective. Major barriers include social norms that value maternity as the main life project for women living in poverty, gender stereotypes (pregnancy as the exclusive responsibility of adolescent girls, without involving adolescent boys), the stigma of abortion, a lack of sexual and reproductive health services, and resistance to raising the visibility of pregnancy in girls under 15 years of age who are victims of structural and family violence. It is necessary to ensure the continuity of public policies––adjusted to a gender and human-rights approach––that take into account new scenarios such as the one imposed by the COVID-19

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