274485 Afghanistan's Mullahs Help Accelerate Family Planning Use

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 5:24 PM - 5:42 PM

Douglas H. Huber, MD, MSc , Reproductive Health Specialist, Innovative Development Expertise and Advisory Services, Inc. (IDEAS), Newton, MA
Women in post-conflict Afghanistan have one of the world's highest lifetime risks of maternal death, one in eight. Years of conflict devastated the country's health infrastructure, total fertility rates remained high, 6.8, contraceptive prevalence rates (CPR) were below 10%, and Afghan models of success for family planning were non-existent. The majority (80%) of the 32.7 million Afghans lived in rural areas and women could not access health services outside their community. With the new Basic Package of Health Services in 2004, rural Afghanistan had 14,000 community health workers (CHWs), half being women. However, family planning was perceived as culturally sensitive, particularly among religious leaders requiring a slow and cautious approach. CHWs were often reluctant providers. INNOVATION TESTED: Modern contraceptives--pills, injectables, condoms--could be introduced rapidly, combining three key approaches: Program innovations that simultaneously engaged religious and community leaders, CHWs, and couples Expertise in contraceptive technology and a new health paradigm comparing contraceptive safety to risks of pregnancy In-depth knowledge of couples and communities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I wrote the abstract and conducted the research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.