HAS Meeting the Critical Need for Family Planning Services
The unmet need for family planning services in Haiti is significant, and has only increased as the Zika virus has moved into the country. Thanks to generous donors, HAS is working to meet the need for long-term family planning methods in HAS’s catchment area.
A couple facts about the unmet need in Haiti:
- It is estimated that thirty-five percent of currently married women in Haiti have an unmet need for family planning, with 20% wanting to limit births and 16% desiring to space births.
- Fourteen percent of young women ages 15-19 have already begun childbearing: 11% are mothers and 3% are pregnant with their first child.
Barriers Remain Preventing Women from Seeking Out Family Planning Services.
A multitude of barriers exist that prevent adolescent girls from seeking reproductive health counseling and services, including low education levels (young women with no education are three times more likely to begin childbearing by age nineteen than young women with secondary or higher education), religious and cultural taboos, stigmas surrounding sexuality and rights, as well as the fact that parents in Haiti generally do not discuss sexual health with their children. Amid a highly unstable political and economic environment, with poor health systems, and cultural and socioeconomic barriers, adolescents are a particularly vulnerable group, particularly when it comes to their reproductive health.
Though much progress has been made in re-development since the 2010 earthquake, Haiti still struggles with a severely stretched and underfunded health care system. Therefore, there is still a great need to strengthen and expand HAS’ reproductive health programs, education and services to better meet the needs of the growing population. Access to reproductive health education and services can be transformative for youth, women and communities, leading to better health outcomes and other benefits such as fewer girls dropping out of school and economic empowerment for women.