In the Lake Tanganyika Basin, reproductive health care is nearly non-existent. Contraceptive and prenatal care is inaccessible, childbearing often begins in teen years, and extreme poverty is the norm. As a result, maternal-fetal death rates are extremely high (under-five childhood death rate is near 20-25 percent in certain areas in the basin), as is fistula formation in women and girls who survive obstructed labor. The LTFHC/WAVE is committed to addressing high birthrate in the region through accessible contraception, not only as a means of empowering local women but also to save lives and prevent disease.
As such, the LTFHC/WAVE will conduct a comprehensive contraceptive project, funded by Hivos International, in Rukwa, Tanzania, that will include the following:
- Sexual education for couples
- Community didactics on sexual health, prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and contraceptive options including oral contraceptive pills, injectable methods and both female and male condoms
- General training in sexual health and contraception for health care workers
- Intra-uterine device (IUD) insertion training for health care workers
- Free provision of contraceptives for patients during the outreaches
- Establishment of reliable contraceptive supply chains
Through this outreach we aim to increase community awareness of contraceptive methods, increase male partner knowledge and involvement in contraceptive decision-making, build capacity in terms of health care workers skilled in contraception provision (with a particular focus on the longest-lasting, most reliable methods), and improve long term availability of contraceptives.
We are particularly grateful to DKT Tanzania for their assistance in sourcing medical supplies at a discounted rate.
This outreach will begin on May 23rd with a community “kick off” festival. Organized in cooperation with Femina HIP (a Tanzanian organization that promotes sexual health and wellness for young people through the use of multimedia) and community health care workers, the festival will feature a local theater group performing plays to help dispel common myths about contraception. Femina HIP will serve as the “master of ceremonies” to maximize community involvement and spread the word about the outreach during the festival.