Mauritania is one of the least densely populated countries in Africa: Its 3.8 million people are spread across 397,000 miles of mostly arid land. The majority of Mauritanians are subsistence farmers, and 42% live below the poverty line. Great distances to clinics and a lack of trained medical providers means that many people lack access to adequate health care, particularly in the areas of reproductive health and family planning. Only 8% of women in Mauritania currently use any method of contraception.
In 2013, EngenderHealth and the U.S. Agency for International Development/West Africa launched Agir pour la Planification Familiale (AgirPF), a five-year program designed to expand women’s access to and use of family planning services in five West African countries, including Mauritania. By building awareness of family planning’s benefits and training providers to deliver quality services, EngenderHealth will work to increase informed decision making about family planning and broaden voluntary use of contraceptives.