Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest works in partnership with nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations to support programs in developing countries that positively impact the lives of vulnerable women and families.
Recognizing that family planning and other sexual and reproductive health services play a critical lifesaving role in global health, PPGNW’s International Program focuses on three programmatic priorities that lie at the intersection of global health needs and our expertise:
1) Expanding global access to family planning
2) Preventing unsafe abortion and related health consequences
3) Empowering women and youth through sexual and reproductive health education
EXPANDING GLOBAL ACCESS TO FAMILY PLANNING
Globally, there are 222 million women who wish to limit family size or stop childbearing altogether who do not have access to modern contraception options. If these women had access to family planning options, the number of unintended pregnancies could shrink by as much as two-thirds, which in turn would reduce the number of maternal and newborn deaths each year by hundreds of thousands. By increasing access to contraception options, we empower individuals to prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Spotlight: With support and training from PPGNW’s International Program, our partner Modulo Anexo Materno Infantil (MAMI), in the Dominican Republic established a peer education program that led to a 300% increase in family planning visits in less than three years.
PREVENTING UNSAFE ABORTION AND RELATED HEALTH CONSEQUENCES
Unsafe abortion can be avoided both by preventing unintended pregnancies (through increased access to family planning services), and by increasing access to safe abortion. In 2008, an estimated 21.6 million unsafe abortions were performed globally, many of them in countries where abortion is illegal altogether or strictly restricted. That same year, 47,000 women died due to complications from unsafe abortions; many more suffered long-term health consequences. Unsafe abortion and its consequences are preventable. PPGNW advocates for access to safe, legal abortion and also supports postabortion care services, to ensure that women who have unsafe or incomplete abortions get the medical attention and emotional support they need to prevent long-term complications and, in some cases, save their lives. We train community health workers, nurses and other providers to safely manage complications of miscarriage and unsafe abortion.
Spotlight: In collaboration with Health Leadership International we provided medical training in low resource areas of Lao PDR. A key element of this effort included the printing and distribution of a Lao translation of “Where Women Have No Doctor”.
EMPOWERING WOMEN & YOUTH TO TAKE CHARGE OF THEIR SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH THROUGH EDUCATION
PPGNW is recognized for our outstanding educational programs working with teens and empowering youth. Our Teen Council peer education program is a proven method that can be adapted to the international context. Access to simple reproductive health information and services does not always translate to increased use of those services. Our education programs also address gender roles, socioeconomic, and cultural factors that can impede access to services. By contributing our expertise as part of broader development initiatives that focus on health and empowerment, we further strengthen the overall health of a community.
Spotlight: Partnering with the Youth Development Foundation in Cameroon, over 120 peer educators were trained to reach over 1,200 youth annually, encouraging young people to find their voice in making sexual and reproductive health choices.