The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3146.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 11:00 AM

Abstract #71304

Meeting the needs of underserved populations: SRH services and education for Haitians living in the Dominican Republic

Rebecca Koladycz, MA1, Angela R. Heimburger, MPH1, and Gianna Sangiovanni2. (1) International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region, 120 Wall Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10005-3902, 212-214-0256,, (2) Asociacion Dominicana Pro-Bienestar de la Familia (PROFAMILIA), Dominican Republic, Socorro Sanchez #160, Zona 1, Apartado 1053, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Half a million Haitians live in the Dominican Republic (DR). These immigrants and their descendants live in indigent conditions, have high levels of illiteracy, infant and maternal morbidity and mortality, gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases, malnutrition, high incidence of STI/HIV/AIDS, and high levels of fecundity. The scarce data available about sexual and reproductive health (SRH) indicate that there is a marked difference between this population and the Dominican population living in similar conditions. Data show that 68% of Dominican-Haitians have had at least one abortion and only 31% have used a contraceptive. Access to health services is precarious due to distances that must be traveled, lack of economic resources, fear of being mistreated or rejected, and fear of being deported. IPPF/WHR’s affiliate, PROFAMILIA, is implementing an innovative program to improve access to SRH education and services for Haitians in the DR. Using a three-pronged approach, PROFAMILIA works through health promoters from the Haitian communities, while also training their own clinical staff to meet the needs of this underserved population and sensitizing ministry of health and other providers on the SRH needs and rights of this community. In partnership with local NGOs that have gained the trust of this population, PROFAMILIA develops the capacity of these organizations to address SRH needs and to distribute contraceptives through health promoters. Promoters focus on changing certain behaviors in order to prevent STI/HIV/AIDS and on developing knowledge about sexual and reproductive rights. Free clinical services are provided in PROFAMILIA centers through referrals by the promoters.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: International Reproductive Health, Underserved Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Profamilia, Dominican Republic
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

STI/HIV Prevention: The view from Reproductive Health

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA