Early Childbearing in Honduras: A Continuing Challenge
• Honduras tiene la tasa de fecundidad adolescente más alta de América Central, con 137 nacimientos por cada 1.000 mujeres de 15 a 19 años. Esta tasa ha permanecido sin cambios durante las dos últimas décadas, pese a la disminución de la fecundidad en los demás grupos de mujeres. En números absolutos, los nacimientos en adolescentes aumentaron en un 50% entre 1987 y 2001.
• Honduras has the highest adolescent birthrate in Central America, at 137 births for every 1,000 15–19-year-olds. This rate has remained unchanged over the past two decades, despite declines in the birthrate among women in all other age-groups. In absolute numbers, births to adolescents increased by 50% between 1987 and 2001.
• As of 2001, only one-third of all women aged 20–24 (and only one-seventh of those in rural areas) had completed primary school; less education is associated with a higher likelihood of early childbearing.
• One-half of 20–24-year-olds give birth by age 20; this proportion is higher among the least-educated women (70%), the poorest women (64%) and those in rural areas (60%).
• In 2001, 40% of all recent adolescent births were unplanned, and the highest proportion was among those with the most education (48%). Most sexually active 15–19-year-olds (70%) do not want to have a child in the next two years.
• Despite these reproductive preferences, just one in three sexually active adolescents uses a modern contraceptive method. Overall, 48% of adolescents have an unmet need for effective contraception.
• High levels of early childbearing coexist with low rates of professional prenatal and delivery care. In 2001, one-third of recent 15–24-year-old mothers did not make a single prenatal care visit. The same proportion gave birth without a medical professional in attendance.
• Policies and programs that aim to promote adolescents’ reproductive health and support their childbearing preferences exist, but they are often not fully implemented and need more official commitment and resources.