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Maternal & Child Health

Too many girls, children and young women lack equal access to healthcare. They are the most vulnerable to gender-based violence and inadequate access to sexual and reproductive health management. That’s why Plan International USA is committed to providing health programming for the ones who need it most, all across the world. 

We work with marginalized communities to ensure that they have access to the health services necessary to survive and thrive, and to equip them with the information, skills and self-efficacy to manage their health.  Our comprehensive, inclusive approach to programming strives to be girl-led, because we believe that girls are our most important and valued partners in driving program design and content. The best way to identify the challenges that girls and young women face and define the path forward is to ask the experts: the girls themselves.

Our health programming includes six main focus areas:

  • Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR): We ensure that girls, adolescents and women realize their rights to sexual and reproductive health, including access to information, education and services. Our SRHR program areas include life skills programming, comprehensive sexuality education, family planning, adolescent and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health access, addressing child and early forced marriage and unions (CEFMU), and preventing HIV and increasing access to testing and care.
  • Gender-based violence: We work to prevent gender-based violence by opposing the patriarchal systems that seek to control the lives of girls and young women and recognizing that girls have the right to bodily autonomy. Programming allows girls to speak up about the issues they face and advocate for change, and encourage boys and men to end discrimination and violence. We also work with local governments to enforce laws that keep girls protected and hold perpetrators accountable.
  • Access to quality health care: Our programs are designed with a community-led approach, working with young people to identify barriers and solutions that increase access to quality, age- and gender-responsive health services. For communities to thrive, girls and young women need equitable access to support systems. Plan’s work reflects the priorities of communities’ urgent health care needs and cultivates sustainable environments for all girls, children, women and families to thrive.
  • Disease prevention: We work to improve knowledge, skills, competencies and capabilities related to disease prevention through a range of interventions. We address primary health care and increase access to health care services; projects are often cross-sectoral to help girls and children stay healthy, so that they can live their lives and reach their full potential.
  • Menstrual hygiene management (MHM): We deliver menstrual hygiene management programming that increases the availability of girl-friendly sanitation facilities in schools and communities, improves access to menstrual hygiene supplies, and engages boys, men and key community stakeholders to eliminate the stigma and taboo around menstruation. MHM programming is closely linked with SRHR and life skills programming to ease girls’ transition through adolescence. This work increases girls’ school graduation rates, improves overall health, allows girls to better participate in society and helps girls live with dignity.
  • Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): Plan helps to ensure that girls, boys, women and men have equal access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, in the community and the home. In particular, we ensure that girls have access to sanitation at school, so that they can safely and comfortably manage their periods — without sacrificing their education. We work with communities to implement the use of low-cost technologies for point-of-use water treatment. We also actively promote the proper use and handling of water, using behavior change approaches and educational campaigns. Our work is with both urban and rural communities to overcome context-specific barriers to safe water and hygiene.

 

To speak with a health expert, email health@planusa.org.

Projects

Worldwide: Health Policy Plus Project

The Health Policy Plus Project aims to strengthen and advance health policy priorities in family planning and reproductive health; HIV; and maternal, newborn, and child health.

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