Many women in Haiti have very few options when it comes to family planning and even less control. Availability and use of condoms is limited and local cultural and sexual politics leaves women with little say in the family planning process. Safe and effective female birth control options are in limited supply and and access to them is restricted due to lack of consistent medical oversight and resources.
From Day 1, sexual health education sessions and meetings conducted by Haiti Village Health with village women clearly indicated a strong desire for birth control. While HaitiVillageHealth regularly distributes condoms to all patients it has begun to administer injectable birth control for women who request it. It is not administered lightly. All women who request it go through an education session that covers issues of sexually transmitted infection, pregnancy testing and are provided with a complement of maternal vitamins. This is the first such program of its kind in the region and has been welcomed by all.
Members of the Team conduct regular open education sessions with women on issues of maternal health distributing vitamins and providing education on childhood nutrition. Men have their own sessions where the need for proper condom use is promoted. Discussions extend beyond simple birth control and into prevention of sexually transmitted diseases especially HIV which is extremely important in a country with a rural infection rate of 13%. For example $500 will provide maternal vitamins for 100 women for a full year.