The pregnancy of a 10-year-old girl in San Cristobal, a province in southern Dominican Republic, is a "real tragedy," Public Health and Social Assistance Minister Freddy Hidalgo said Sunday.

Hidalgo said that he had ordered the girl to be provided with the necessary medical and psychological attention at the hospital that is attending to her, and he gave instructions for her to receive assistance in her home.

In an interview granted to "D'Agenda," which is broadcast on Sundays on Telesistema Canal 11, Hidalgo issued a call to the parents of youngsters and teenagers to "take more responsibility" for their children to prevent situations like this from occurring, according to a communique issued by the ministry.

The minister said that he cannot say whether the pregnant girl's parents are responsible for their daughter's situation, but he expressed the opinion that in the majority of similar cases "the irresponsibility with which the parents of minors in conditions of vulnerability have acted has been proven."

Hidalgo announced that the Public Health Ministry's budget for next year will increase the funding allocated to the campaign to prevent teenage pregnancies in the Dominican Republic.

Dr. Miguel Angel Geraldino, the director of the Juan Pablo Piña Regional Hospital where the girl is receiving treatment, said that because of the large number of pregnant teenagers in the region, the hospital created a special unit where all those cases are monitored from a health standpoint.

It is estimated that minors in that region account for about 25 percent of the pregnancies there. 

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