Communicating a Key Health Issue in Mexico
Today, Ricardo Bernal of GLOBALHealthPR Mexico partner PRP gives us a look at how to engage multiple stakeholders and the public on an important health issue – teenage pregnancy.
In Mexico, one in two sexually active females aged 12 to 19 is pregnant. This forever alters these young women’s lives as well as the dynamics of their families. Among many issues they face, pregnant teens risk dropping out of school, increases in poverty levels, perpetual low-income jobs and, in most cases, an increased possibility of getting pregnant again in the following years.
To combat this and empower women faced with this situation, PRP helped to bring together medical specialists and non-governmental associations (NGOs) such as the Mexican Foundation for Family Planning (MEXFAM) and the Mexican Institute of Sexology A.C (IMESEX), at an event hosted by Bayer Women’s Health on World Contraception Day (WCD), held every year in September.
The key message: Having a life plan and sexual health education that includes access to contraception and treatment compliance are essential to reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancy.
Young people represent a vulnerable population. Just when their professional lives are supposed to be rising, they are also at greatest risk for unintended pregnancy. But still, talking about sex with young people is not usually dealt with openly; a third of the youth in the world don’t talk about contraception with their current partner before having sex, and just a few parents talk about the subject with their children.
There is a wide body of evidence linking sexual education programs in schools to increases in contraceptive use and decreases in pregnancy rates among adolescents. Thus from a scientific perspective there is no reason to separate counseling from sex education; these should be closely linked to prepare young people for the transition to adulthood.
Today, it is crucial to strengthen sexual and reproductive health among Mexican youths, while also letting them know that responsible health decisions are the start to achieving their professional and personal aspirations as adults. This is how we break the statistics of teenage pregnancy.
Our role as communicators and public relations professionals is to become a content multiplier with a strong commitment to accurate and objective information that, with the help of specialists, will influence positively parents and teenagers through media outlets.
When young people incorporate a culture of prevention into their daily discourse, they become responsible individuals. As a consequence they become receptive and know what to do with the information they receive. In this case study, modern contraceptives are highly effective, but only if used correctly, timely and in a consistent manner.
Communications is one of the most important ways to educate and allow the creation of successful young generations, ones that will be informed, responsible and engaged with their future.