Unsafe birthing practices can lead to devastating injuries and diseases for both mother and child. Prolonged, unattended births lead to obstetric fistula, maternal and neonatal infections, and neonatal respiratory distress. Furthermore, complications during pregnancy and childbirth is the number one cause of death for adolescent females, making reproductive health education and access to contraceptives life-saving tools. Men play a significant role in supporting the reproductive health of women and girls; men who are educated about reproductive health and contraceptives are more likely to support their partner’s decisions surrounding contraceptive use and family planning, ultimately reducing unwanted pregnancies.
Family Planning Outreach
UVP brings nurses from local health centers to partner villages to conduct outreaches on family planning, child spacing, and birth control options. They provide education and offer free family planning options to all women who desire them. As most contraceptive methods come in three-month doses, we conduct quarterly visits in our partner communities. At the end of the Healthy Villages program, women are used to the routine of meeting for family planning sessions, and we encourage communities to continue to sustain these outreaches by asking each woman to contribute a small amount for the nurse’s travel expenses to bring birth control methods to the village.
Adolescent Reproductive Health Outreach (ARH)
Quarterly, adolescent-specific reproductive health outreaches provide information about relevant topics surrounding pregnancy, HIV/STIs, and contraceptives. To increase awareness of this program and engage participants, UVP hosts sports events surrounding the educational meetings. These events typically include question-and-answer sessions which we use to assess baseline knowledge and end with the winning team receiving a prize.
As a way to engage men specifically, UVP conducts outreaches targeted to this population to provide a platform to address misconceptions and answer specific questions. Men who are more educated can be more supportive partners.