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Preventing teenage pregnancy in Mexico

May 09, 2007 05:39 PM IST India India

New Delhi: Tending to computerised crying and burping model babies. How about that as a contraceptive measure? Yes it’s true and it’s happening in Mexico.

It's not a real baby but this little plastic doll can be as demanding as any infant. And that's why these baby simulators are being used in central Mexico to introduce teenagers to the trials of parenthood.

A new program aimed at reducing teenage pregnancies asks pairs of high school students to spend two or three days tending to the computerised babies, which are programmed to cry for food, burp and scream at night until they were rocked back to sleep. The results are immediate.

A student Zaira Elizabeth says, “It was an experience that helped us we are not ready be parents at a young age.”

The northern border state of Chihuahua suffers from one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Mexico, with 20 per cent of babies being born to mothers aged 19 or younger.

In a country with a long-standing taboo against discussing sex in the family. Teachers say the dolls can help open up communication between adults and young people.

Teacher Elizabeth Aguilar says, “This program should be obligatory in all schools."

Which just goes to show that bringing up a baby is an education in more ways than one.