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A plan to prevent adolescent pregnancy and reduce infant mortality.

Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Education
  • Medicine


In Illinois, particularly in Chicago, the infant mortality rate is higher than that for the nation as a whole. Unless infant mortality in Illinois declines at a faster rate, the State will not meet the objective for reducing infant mortality specified by the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service. Low birth weight infants are at high risk of medical problems, if not death, and teenage mothers have an increased risk of bearing low birth weight infants. This paper presents a program aimed at the primary prevention of adolescent pregnancy. The three-component, interactive program--sex education, adolescent clinic services, and community support and involvement--is proposed for preventing adolescent pregnancy which, in turn, will decrease the rate of births of low birth weight infants and, consequently, the rate of infant mortality in target areas of Illinois. Medical and college students will be trained to teach the sex education course and to serve as counselors. A clinic will provide primary care, contraceptive education, and access to contraceptives. The clinic staff will be a resource for the community as well as for the adolescents. In the target areas, church and community members will sponsor health fairs and discussions of adolescent pregnancy at church and at parent-teacher association meetings. The overlapping activities of the instructors, clinic personnel, and church and community members will give continuity and consistency to the prevention message directed to the adolescents.

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