Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#493509 - 07/19/14 04:28 AM The Reality of Adolescent Pregnancies in Belize  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,337
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Part 1

Joan Burke

In 2012 there were one thousand three hundred and forty teenage girls who gave birth, with the majority coming out of the Belize District……that figure increased in 2013 to one thousand three hundred and seventy three with the majority of girls coming out of the Cayo District. In ratio to the country’s population, it may not be what one would call a staggering figure, but adolescent pregnancy is an issue that should raise a red light, not only because a teenager may not be fully prepared to enter motherhood but also because any young girl engaged in sexual intercourse under the age of 16, is illegal. In our quest to find out more on the topic of adolescent pregnancy, we visited Joan Burke, the Executive Director of the Belize Family Life Association (BFLA). For you to have clear understanding of what it is that BFLA is mandated to do, we asked Burke to explain.


“We recognize that BFLA is not an island. So firstly we network with other partners in our advocacy. We advocate for laws and policies that are friendly towards young persons including adolescents. Laws must exist that will protect young persons and protect the rights of young persons and also if those rights are violated, we have to look at what is the course of action to be taken on the violators? When it comes to the legal environment, we must ensure that we hold what we call those duty bearers accountable for the protection of children and adolescents, whether it has to do, if its rape, incest because the law as it exists, states that a person can consent to sex at the age of 16 so any person under 16 who becomes pregnant, that should be considered rape because that person cannot consent.”

Adolescent pregnancies can create myriad problems, not only for the teen that gets pregnant but for the family on a whole, as most times you find that either the child leaves home, short of an education or a form of employment or the teen’s mother is left with the added responsibility. Either way it is not a situation that proves beneficial for anyone involved. While some years back, the issue of finance could have been a factor for adolescent pregnancies, when it comes to the purchasing of condoms or birth control, that can no longer be attributed to this social dilemma as there are many facilities around the country including the BFLA that provide these precautionary measures for free with counselling and guidance as an added benefit. It begs the question, where does the problem lie? Burke weighed in on this for us, as she speaks very strongly on what the young persons are being taught.


“There are many factors and one of the things that I believe, when I say we, it’s the nation, we need to hold ourselves responsible for what is happening with our children including adolescents today. The unwillingness on the part of many to provide young persons with the kind of information that they need…. If you look at the schools, for example, where they have a program where the issue of sex, responsibility, decision making responsibility and all that are being taught, you will see that there is a big difference in terms of the number of adolescent pregnancies. Nobody wants to know that their 10 or 12 year old is sexually active. We know that it is happening. I think the time has come for the discussion on sex, sexuality, sexual responsibility to be held in the homes as well as in the schools. The Ministry of Education, I think has to make the firm decision to bring the church at the table, saying that what we have been doing over the years has failed. Yes, there is a place for morality and religious principles and all that but it is not making a difference with these young people. We are battling with the social media and we have no control over the social media and therefore my thinking is that we come to the table, there is an existing curriculum, social partners, the church and the government; we must come and say, ‘okay, this is the information that we need to provide to our young people’. You would be amazed at how ill-informed our young people are.”

As we mentioned, BFLA is a service provider that focuses on sexual reproduction and health, particularly for young individuals. It is not our goal to exploit the challenges of young persons but rather to sensitize those who are unaware of the social challenges being faced by many parents, families and young persons, with the hope that individuals among our viewers will see how we can fix this societal ordeal. In line with that goal, we asked Burke to share with us some of the situations that they are faced with at the BFLA.


“We have seen cases, for example, where 12- year-old girls are infected with syphilis, with genital warts and of course we have seen young girls pregnant. We have had 13 year old girls who are infected with HIV. We have had also had a couple of mothers with girls with disabilities who have actually brought in their daughters for us to put them on some form of contraceptives. We have seen it all; we have had circumstances of rape, date rape because we had a councilor on staff as well so all of those situations we see come through the doors of BFLA.”

Adolescent pregnancy is a situation that cannot be conquered by any single organisation or individual but requires more drastic movements by multiple partners with support from government. Burke says while there are facts many are still refusing to embrace, the time has come where it is a necessity.


“The teen pregnancy or adolescent pregnancy is a result of what has not been done prior to that young person becoming sexually active and the only way to prevent that is to have the conversation that many are not prepared to have. I can tell you, there are certain high schools where on certain days it is half full especially in the south, they are half full. Why? Because that Friday, the citrus growers are being paid, the banana growers are being paid and it’s something that the school has to deal with because the girls are out there. They go out there and they do transactions. We are seeing, and I am glad that BNE has done some intervention to try and address the situation. There has been a proliferation of bars on the Southern Highway and if you go into those bars there are young, young girls. WE have found as young as fourteen years in those bars. We have to come together, there are realities that we may not want to face but if we are serious about preventing adolescent pregnancies in this country, we have to face the music and we have to make some decisions that may challenge our own moral values but the decisions have to be made.”

Today’s segment on adolescent pregnancy is the first in a series of features that we will be airing on this topic. Look out for another segment on adolescent pregnancy on Tuesday evening.


#493515 - 07/19/14 04:57 AM Re: The Reality of Adolescent Pregnancies in Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,428
Katie Valk Offline
Katie Valk  Offline
Support BFLA, pls

Belize based travel specialist
#493545 - 07/19/14 11:15 AM Re: The Reality of Adolescent Pregnancies in Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 1,337
Judyann H. Offline
Judyann H.  Offline
I wish you all the best Miss Burke....Please don't bury me if this information is incorrect.....Someone enlighten me please.....My staff has told me that when they have a child the government pays them a sum, to the tune of $4,000 to $5,000 dollars.....Can this be true? I cannot confirm it anywhere except from local young people.....Some who have up to 5 children and are less than 25 years old......It's not my business nor do I want to take up this cause......Simply,looking for the facts.....

My friends call me Judyann
#493555 - 07/19/14 02:42 PM Re: The Reality of Adolescent Pregnancies in Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 6,711
Amanda Syme Offline
Amanda Syme  Offline
You are not allowed to have voluntarily have your tubes tied or have a volumtary hysterectomy until you are 25 years old or have 5 kids.

As far as money paid by government. No, I do not believe that is right, however there is an amount of money you can get from social security if you have been paying into the system.

I would be interested to hear what others know sbout the facts on this subject too.

#493559 - 07/19/14 03:46 PM Re: The Reality of Adolescent Pregnancies in Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,428
Katie Valk Offline
Katie Valk  Offline
Few male ob/gyns will tie tubes, even if doing a c section on a women in her 30's with other kids. Guerra, Coyi and more than a few others are guilty of controlling their patients reproductive choices. Ask around and the stories are atrocious

Belize based travel specialist
#493566 - 07/19/14 06:16 PM Re: The Reality of Adolescent Pregnancies in Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 5,464
ScubaLdy Offline
ScubaLdy  Offline
It is not just teen age girls who are uninformed or misinformed. I've had many conversations with local men in their 20's and 30's who are not educated in the reproductive parts of themselves let along about women's bodies.
I'm so old I can get away with having these conversations.

I think we need to acknowledge that when children are growing up in one room or one bedroom houses and their parents are sexually active the kids will be too.

Take only pictures leave only bubbles
#493595 - 07/20/14 10:17 AM Re: The Reality of Adolescent Pregnancies in Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 1,337
Judyann H. Offline
Judyann H.  Offline
Harriette; that is an excellent point....I am aware of a few families that all share the same sleeping room......It sounds like a great deal of work ahead for Miss. Burke. .... It sounds like progress is on the Horizon even if slow paced....

My friends call me Judyann

Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!
Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!

Things to do

Daily News
Daily Weather

Classified Ads
San Pedro Sun
Ambergris Today
SP Town Council
Channel 7
Channel 5
Love FM
The Reporter
TV Newscasts
Radio Stations

Click for our
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites

Event Guides
Event Calendar
Specials & Events
Things to Do
iTravel Belize
Paradise Theater
Paradise Guy Event Calendar

San Pedro Scoop!
Tia Chocolate
My Beautiful Belize
I-Travel Belize
Belize Adventure
Belize Hub
Romantic Travel
Bound for Belize
Conch Creative
As The Coconuts Drop
More Blogs...
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Lil Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30
Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
More Links
Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
Mini Chat
Who's Online Now
2 registered members (2 invisible), 58 guests, and 8 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Statistics
Most Online1,262
Jun 10th, 2007 HELP! Visitor Center Goods & Services San Pedro Town Message Board Lodging Diving Fishing Things to Do History Maps Phonebook Belize Business Directory Picture of the Day

The opinions and views expressed on this board are the subjective opinions of Ambergris Caye Message Board members
and not of the Ambergris Caye Message Board its affiliates, or its employees.

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0