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Health

Globally, countless health related deaths could be prevented with access to simple, affordable interventions that make health care more readily available for everyone, especially women and girls.

Our projects focus on supporting quality gender responsive and adolescent responsive sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including maternal, newborn, child health (MNCH)) services, along with the prevention and treatment of HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Why? Because:

Around the world, over 800 women and adolescent girls die from preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth every day.

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Approximately, 2.7 million newborns die every year. Three quarters of these deaths are preventable.

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Approximately 12 million girls aged 15–19 years and at least 777,000 girls under 15 years give birth each year in developing regions.

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About 15 million adolescents use a modern contraceptive method, while 23 million have an unmet need for modern contraception and are thus at elevated risk of unintended pregnancy.

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In Sub-Saharan Africa, malaria is the leading cause of death for children under 5 years of age.

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According to UNAIDS, around 7,000 young women aged 15-24 years become infected with HIV every week.

How do we make health services more accessible?

We work with communities, local partners and governments in remote, under-served communities to empower women and girls to make their own health decisions, strengthen health systems and promote greater accountability of quality sexual and reproductive and maternal, newborn, and child health services, through a gender-transformative approach.

At the heart of all our programs is a multi-pronged gender equality strategy that focuses on empowering women and girls, engaging men and boys and strengthening the delivery of gender and adolescent responsive health services.

Strengthening Health Systems

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Plan International Canada’s projects in each country works closely with governments; strengthening health systems by renovating and equipping health facilities, building the capacity of health care providers, supporting community health workers and improving gender responsive and adolescent responsive referral systems.

Our partnerships with other organizations range from the community members and local organizations to well recognized international organizations.

Empowering Communities

Health care worker talking to a community

Through our work; we increase support for and utilization of sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn & child health information and services by creating awareness among women, men, adolescent girls and boys, empowering women and adolescent girls while removing gender related barriers to health care.

Critical components of our work include engaging men as change agents and mobilizing women to get involved in health decision-making and management. We also ensure that adolescent girls and boys are given the opportunity to participate in their own health and wellbeing and support them to learn more about their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
A Focus on Adolescents

Group of Adolescents holding a sign, Our bodies, our lifes, our, our rights

Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for 15 to 19 year old girls globally.

Access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights is a basic human right. Plan International’s SRHR programs work with local partners including governments and community members to respond to the needs of women and adolescents.

Our SRHR projects take into consideration the varying needs of adolescents and women and look at how best to provide health services and information for decision making, by empowering women, and adolescents to exercise their rights through gender transformative programming.

Adolescents are at risk of unsafe sexual behavior that can result in unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as well as HIV and AIDS. Unequal economic, cultural and social status compromise their ability to protect themselves and prevents access to health services and information. Improving the provision of SRHR services for adolescents is about making access for adolescents easier and more user-friendly in order to protect and improve their health and well-being.

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For girls like Akhimoni in Bangladesh, who is 13 years old, this means having the ability to visit a health facility near her home and to carry out a private confidential discussion with a health professional on issues related to menstrual hygiene management.

Our projects build the capacity of health care workers to provide SRHR services that are gender responsive and adolescent responsive, and we support health facilities to set up welcoming spaces that maintain the confidentiality and privacy of adolescents, women and their male partners. To ensure that all children, adolescents and youth have the capacity, knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to make informed, voluntary and healthy choices around sexuality, reproductive health and relationships, we work with formal and non-formal education sectors adapting Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) curricula, train teachers, mentors, and administrators to deliver gender-responsive and inclusive CSE.  

At the community level we work with various groups including, community health workers, religious leaders, adolescent, men and women’s groups to reflect on the barriers to accessing SRH services, and to bring about the desired behavior change while using various behavior change communication (BCC) strategies such as media, theatre and community dialogue.

Our projects also strengthen community governance and accountability structures such as Community Health Committees (CHCs) with the aim to improve the health of the communities that rely on the shared responsibility of a broad range of community stakeholders for the sustainable delivery of gender responsive and adolescent responsive health services. Our work is changing the traditional CHC membership and leadership structures, founded on the principle that participation of women as well as adolescent girls and boys in community groups plays an important role in achieving gender equality and responds to the varied and unique needs of the vulnerable community members, such as women, adolescent girls and children.

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Our work to improve Maternal, Newborn, Child and Health

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94% of all maternal death occur in low and lower middle-income countries and while substantial progress has been made in reducing child mortality, 2.5 million children died in the first month of life in 2018. Quality health care before, during and after childbirth can save the lives of countless women and newborns. We equip and refurbish health facilities and train health care workers to provide women with healthcare and information at every stage of their pregnancy, in a gender responsive and adolescent friendly manner, empowering them with autonomous health decision-making.

To date, our SRHR/MNCH programming has reached more than 1.3 million adolescent girls and boys, women and their male partners spanning 11 countries around the world.

We also mobilize communities to understand the importance of frequent prenatal care, danger signs during pregnancy and help to set up savings so that all pregnancies are safe, and births are better planned. Our projects ensure that health providers are adequately trained, and appropriately transport is available to provide timely, quality gender responsive and adolescent friendly referral services, avoiding delays in reaching health facilities. Through various strategies, we strive to remove gender barriers that women and adolescents face, that prevent them from seeking the essential care they need.

Our work to end HIV/Tuberculosis/Malaria

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Plan International Canada partnered with The Global fund in 2004 to accelerate the end of the AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria epidemics in West Africa, Southern Africa, Asia and the Americas. In all countries where we work, we take an intentional role of building both community and national capacity to create sustainable and resilient health systems for the future.

We work on strengthening health systems by:

1

Supporting rehabilitation of diagnostic and treatment centers for tuberculosis.

2

Improving capacities on procurement and management of medicines to minimize stock outages at the different levels of the care system.

3

Training health services providers to deliver qualitative, gender-sensitive and inclusive health services

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Bringing services closer to the communities, with mobile units providing screening and treatment for sexual transmitted infections and HIV counselling and testing and referral for treatment and screening for tuberculosis at the household level.

We work with the communities to increase their knowledge of the diseases and access to prevention tools such as universal coverage with bed nets, malaria preventive medicine for pregnant women and children under five years old and condoms and gels for HIV prevention.

In line with the epidemiology of these diseases, our work focuses on vulnerable and key populations such as adolescent girls and young women, the LGBT+ communities, prisoners, people who inject drugs and others with specific vulnerabilities putting them at most risk. We ensure that they can access the health services they need, free of stigma and discrimination.

Our work takes a 3 pronged approached:
  1. Increasing self-agency and awareness of their rights for people in vulnerable groups
  2. Creating an enabling environment where health services are accessible and combatting stigma, discrimination, gender-based violence and other unequitable gender and social norms
  3. Contributing to a national framework with supportive laws and policies.
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Ways you can support our Health Work

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Gifts of hope

Help end HIV, tuberculosis and malaria infections around the world by 2030. Working at all levels of government and all levels of healthcare, this project is engaging communities with awareness, prevention and treatment.

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Child sponsorship

Help a child realize their right to live, learn, decide and thrive. Together, we can create a world where all children unleash their full potential.

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