Home to more than nearly 20 million people, Côte d’Ivoire is the second largest economy in West Africa. Yet strains from past political and economic upheaval have impacted the country’s fragile health system. As a result, women and their families face limited access to reproductive health and family planning services. Additionally, limited knowledge about HIV transmission and low condom use, among other factors, have contributed to a 3.7% adult HIV prevalence, among the highest in West Africa.
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 Côte d’Ivoire, where we will begin work in 2015. By educating communities on the benefits of contraception, training providers to deliver quality services, and expanding access in underserved communities, we will work to increase informed decision making about family planning and broaden voluntary use of contraceptives.
To address the reproductive health needs of women and their families in Côte d’Ivoire, EngenderHealth’s RESPOND Project focused on male involvement in HIV prevention and in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. EngenderHealth worked with RESPOND partners the Association Ivoirienne pour le Bien-Être Familial (AIBEF), Population Services International (PSI), and the Ministère de l'Education Nationale (MEN)-to conduct Men As Partners® (MAP)–focused peer educator trainings with the general community, uniformed officers, and teachers.
Further expanding on our work to engage men as partners, EngenderHealth collaborated with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to train health providers in Côte d'Ivoire to respond to survivors of gender-based violence (GBV). A March 2012 assessment on the readiness of health facilities in the country guided RESPOND's activities in the country.
Also building on previous EngenderHealth activities in Côte d'Ivoire, RESPOND worked with selected Ministry of Health facilities supported by partners funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), including the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and ACONDA-VS, a local nongovernmental organization, to improve the health of families by preventing HIV transmission and unplanned pregnancies. With a particular focus on integrating family planning and HIV prevention and care services, RESPOND expanded its technical support to health care professionals and community activities using the MAP® approach.