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East and South East Asia and Oceania

Articles by East and South East Asia and Oceania

A woman receives healthcare
03 February 2022

Alternative approaches to providing healthcare to women and girls in Papua New Guinea during COVID-19

Papua New Guinea (PNG), one of the most populated countries in the Pacific, also has one of the highest maternal death rates in the Asia and Pacific regions. The current downward trend of women accessing health facilities or having a skilled birth attendant present during childbirth is alarming. An estimation from 2018 showed that two out of three women in PNG had no access to contraceptives due to geographic, cultural, and economic barriers. These concerning estimates are expected to be further derailed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic brought a direct life-threatening impact to PNG’s unprepared health care systems. Many people live with pre-existing vulnerabilities such as lack of access to basic services and healthcare facilities, or who live in natural disaster-prone areas. At the centre of this situation are vulnerable women and girls, especially those with little or no access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services, including contraception - a vital health component that is often deprioritised in crisis settings. Against this backdrop, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is currently supporting the Papua New Guinea Family Health Association (PNGFHA) to extend essential SRH services from its eight static clinics in hard-to-reach communities via the mobile clinics outreach program. The main objective of this response is to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on mortality and morbidity due to adverse SRH conditions. This will include the delivery of crucial Minimal Initial Service Package (MISP) services; the continuation of comprehensive SRH services; the provision of public health information to communities; and COVID-19 infection prevention and control education. Funded by the Australian government through the SPRINT program, the community outreach mobile clinics are working in 12 districts across four provinces including East New Britain, Eastern Highlands, Morobe, and National Capital District. The National Department of Health is the main coordinator, alongside provincial health authorities, UNFPA, health protection clusters and IPPF Humanitarian for PNGFHA.  Throughout the pandemic, PNGFHA has continued operating its eight static clinics and it has set up an additional 12 mobile clinics since July 2020 with a total of 26 clinical and non-clinical staff.  Access to sexual and reproductive health Accessibility is the key factor behind this initiative. 85% of the population is estimated to live in rural areas in PNG and have no or minimal form of public transportation to get to public health facilities. With government-imposed stay at home orders, many people are unable or reluctant to travel amid fears of becoming infected at the health facilities. Women at the Tuna Bay settlement outside of the capital, Port Moresby, have little access to health facilities within their local area. Many women like Vavine Kila fear for their own and their children’s health and wellbeing but are unable to access the healthcare they need due to the high cost of transportation.  “We don’t normally get access to these services in our community,” said Vavine. “When we go out to other locations, sometimes we wait until late, and also it is expensive to travel up and down. It is very vital to bring the services into the community so our people can benefit from it, for the betterment of our children.”  The PNGFHA’s eight mobile clinics across PNG cut down locals’ travelling and healthcare costs. These clinics also extend underserved communities’ access to SRH services including family planning services, contraception, immunisation, and other health treatments. Local and safe spaces Local, and primarily female, aid workers are at the core of this response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Christine Atu is one of the aid workers that joined PNGFHA from the PNG public healthcare system. She is working alongside youth apprentices like midwife Dalyn Maira at the mobile clinics. Their exchange of experience, expertise and insights into the local culture and context ensure the smooth delivery of essential service to the local communities. 

A healthcare worker
26 November 2021

Samoa: A holistic approach to ending sexual and gender-based violence

With a tiny population of just under 200,000 people, data shows that people in the Polynesian Island nation of Samoa on average enjoy a higher quality of life than other countries in the Pacific. And in July 2021, Samoa elected its first female Prime Minister, Fiama Naomi Mata’afa, which generated hope and excitement for more progress for women and girls. But the Prime Minister has her work cut out for her; during the country’s Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights council in November, the need to address gender-based violence was a recurring issue.   "There is a significant problem with violence towards several different vulnerable groups in Samoa, particularly people of sexual and gender minorities, people with disabilities, women and girls, and children," said Thalia Kehoe Rowden, a representative of the Initiative.   Alarming rates of SGBV   Like nearly every other country around the world, the Pacific Islands are prone to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) – a critical human rights issue that pervades many aspects of society. Global estimates published this year by the World Health Organization indicate that about 1 in 3 (or roughly 736 million) women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime – an alarming figure that remains unchanged for the past decade. According to a 2018 National Public Inquiry into Family Violence almost nine in 10 Samoan women have experienced physical or emotional violence from family members, six out of 10 have experienced intimate partner violence and one in five women have been raped.  “In Samoa, SGBV is a great concern. It is an issue that requires immediate action at the national level,” said Lealaiauloto Liai Iosefa-Siitia, the Executive Director of the Samoa Family Health Association (SFHA). “Samoa needs a holistic approach to reduce the risks of SGBV. All partners should come together and establish a better coordinated and effective way of addressing the issue.”  An IPPF Member Association, SFHA provides reproductive health and family planning services through a permanent clinic in the capital city of Apia, and a mobile unit which visits rural areas and the outer islands to provide educational and contraceptive services.  A data deficit  But according to Iosefa-Siita, the greatest challenge in tackling SGBV in Samoa is a lack of data.  “Data on SGBV is not properly coordinated and disaggregated,” she said. “These challenges may be due to questions of who is responsible for what type of data, who is the national agency responsible, who are the service providers and many more.”  Since 1995, there have been four major studies into the prevalence of SGBV in Samoa. But the length of time between each of these studies makes it difficult to identify trends in reporting violence or the potential impact of new interventions and services.   However, steps are being taken at a policy level. The Government of Samoa recently launched inclusive governance, family safety and gender equality policies and the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development has developed an Interagency Essential Services Guide that helps guide service providers on the elimination of GBV.  SFHA is also developing a Standard of Procedures which incorporates a referral pathway for victims of SGBV at a national level.   “We continue to advocate for sexual and reproductive health rights as one instrumental aspect for the prevention of SGBV at the national level through contribution to national guidelines such as the Interagency Essential Services Guide, the Family Safety Bill by the National Human Rights Institute, the National Policy on Disaster Risk Management and others,” said Iosefa-Siita.  

Promotion of Family Health Association of Lao PDR

The promotion of family health association of Lao PDR (PFHA) is a non-profit association established in 2012. Its roots can be traced to the safe motherhood project jointly implemented by IPPF and UNFPA in the northern province of Oudomxay.

Our vision:

  • to create a healthy and happy society, contributing towards bringing Lao PDR out of least developed nation status.

Our mission:

  • to be the leading family health association striving to provide all people with innovative and up-to-date reproductive health information and quality services by empowering individuals through raising awareness of reproductive health knowledge, information and services and improving quality of reproductive healthcare and services for its beneficiaries in collaboration with government authorities, relevant stakeholders, and other civil society organizations.

PFHA aims at contributing to Lao PDR sustainable development targets, particularly focusing on advancing the sexual reproductive health and rights of vulnerable and marginalized groups in remote areas.

We also support public health facilities, such as district hospitals and health centers. In 2020, PFHA supported 59 associated public health centres and managed one (1) ma static clinic, serving an average of 94,852 clients with 287,910 services.

Humanitarian camp, Philippines

COP26: “For women and girls especially, we need sweeping, systemic change”

Guest perspective by Shiphrah Belonguel, Feminist Activist & Writer/researcher, Philippines Growing up in typhoon-prone, archipelagic Philippines, I have no shortage of mental images to associate with climate change and its crushing impacts on people’s lives and livelihood. I’ve seen entire cities flooded, call centers set up to receive donation pledges and rescue alerts, and people stranded on the roofs of their homes waiting for rescue or crowded at evacuation centers waiting in anxiety. More recently, I have gotten to know more gendered impacts of typhoons and other climate disasters. I’ve come to understand that women and gender minorities are often the ones who have to adjust to keep their families together during disaster. They also become vulnerable to sexual harassment and violence in evacuation centers and humanitarian set-ups in the aftermath. Impact on rural communities Living in urban centers most of my life, I would hear people lament over drainage systems as if climate-related disasters were merely a problem of infrastructure. I hadn’t realized then how much of this discussion would leave some of the most vulnerable populations out of the conversation, particularly those who are living in rural areas. For rural women, specifically, climate change is also a health problem. As the ones who have to spend the most time out in the fields, they are vulnerable to heat strokes, skin problems, and eye irritation. For those engaged in other livelihood activities like weaving, experiencing weather that swung between rain and hot weather can be disruptive as weaving is usually done outdoors and as a community. Rural women make up some of the communities whose livelihood and well-being are tied to their ecosystems, such as peasant, fisherfolk, and Indigenous peoples’ communities. When climate change and environmental degradation result in loss of livelihood, women are often forced to migrate and work in informal, exploitative, and unregulated labor sectors, significantly eliminating their access to public and quality health care systems. In many communities, women have also stood to be environmental defenders against land grabbers and extractive industries that come in to commodify their ecosystems and contribute to the worsening of the climate crisis. Currently, the Philippines is known to be one of the deadliest countries for land and environmental defenders in the world and the deadliest in Asia. Intense weather brings additional barriers to healthcare Clearly, the impacts of the climate crisis are gendered. The sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of women and gender minorities are also at risk. Those living in contexts with weak and uneven public healthcare systems may be unprepared for additional barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health information and services that will be brought about by more intense weather conditions and disasters. In the Philippines where home birthing is illegal, rural women are giving birth on the way to hospitals because these are often far from their communities. For the longest time, disasters in the Philippines have been followed by a Greek chorus of politicians singing praises of the Filipino’s capacity for resilience. Thankfully, the ‘resilience’ narrative has died down in recent years. Now, more and more people are realizing the real threat of climate change and seeking accountability from the government as well as global institutions to tackle the climate crisis head-on. Optimism at a critical time for the world This week, activists from all over the world are doing just that by gathering or tuning into the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties happening in Glasgow, Scotland. While there have been many criticisms of COP26, ranging from issues related to lack of inclusivity and transparency to willful inaction on the part of Global North governments, I remain optimistic because of the engagement of activists, and particularly feminists who continue to highlight the gendered impacts of the climate crisis with a particular focus on people’s SRHR. One government leader that has earned the respect of many is Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados, who in her speech during the opening of COP 26 urged her fellow government leaders not to compromise on targets and to ensure financing for climate change. According to her, anything else is a “death sentence”, especially on island nations like Barbados. She also posed an important question: “What have we learned from COVID?”. Indeed, our COVID-19 experience should serve as a warning as both it and climate change are sustained crises that necessitate global solutions. In terms of SRHR, we know that sexual and reproductive health services have been disrupted, if not blatantly deprioritized. This is evident in cases documented in the past year of maternal healthcare facilities converted into dedicated COVID-19 facilities and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, including safe abortion and post-abortion care services, in many areas suspended. Missing voices must be heard How can we make sure that in times of climate disaster, this will not be the case? SRHR and climate justice activists should work together to propose solutions that will address the needs of the most vulnerable among us. SRHR activists have to resist racist and anti-poor population control narratives and climate justice activists should continue to emphasize gender and human rights in the climate agenda. We need to listen to the missing voices at COP26, the ones that are out in their communities, defending their land and environment, who are at once impacted by the climate crisis and gender inequality. We need to call for sweeping, systemic changes so women, girls, and gender minorities are able to make decisions for their bodies, health, and lives, free from discrimination, violence, and the threat of disaster. We need to center discussions around justice and accountability as women in the global south contribute the least to the crisis but make up some of the most affected populations. Women have been carrying the burden of care and compromising their health and lives for too long. Governments and institutions should follow their example and take leadership now.

Family Planning Association of Hong Kong

The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong (FPAHK) was one of the eight founding Member Associations of IPPF. FPAHK was established in 1950 and has a distinguished history as one of the foremost proponents of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and the belief that good family planning is an essential component in the health and well-being both of the individual and society as a whole. 

We work through 17 service points, including 9 permanent clinics, 1 activity and resource centre, 1 mobile classroom and 6 community-based distributors/community-based services (CBDs/CBSs). Our services include contraception, abortion, pre-marital and pre-pregnancy check-up, treatment/consultation on subfertility, women’s health service, cervical cancer screening, menopause, men’s health service and sex therapy. The organization also offers counselling to young people and couples with emotional or relationship issues.  

The Member Association provides family life and sexuality education to students and training to parents, teachers and professionals. It develops resources and supporting services to promote delivery of sexuality education. It conducts clinical and sociological research in areas pertaining to sexuality, fertility regulation and population. It raises public awareness of the importance of SRH through various media channels. 

 

Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association

In 1957 the Indonesian planned parenthood association (IPPA) was established with the aim of realizing responsible parenthood believing that family is the main pillar in realizing community welfare. Responsible parenthood is understood and interpreted through the dimensions of birth, education, health, welfare and the future.

Values:

  • Respect human dignity, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, people with HIV, people living with disabilities, religion, race, ethnicity, political orientation, social and economic status.
  • Upholding the values of democracy, non-discrimination, gender equality and justice, social justice, personal autonomy, freedom of thought, opinion, expression and association.
  • Upholding and mainstreaming sexual and reproductive health rights in all situations and opportunities.
  • Stick to volunteerism, pioneering work, professionalism, trustworthiness, transparency, independence, sustainability and justice.

Vision:

  • Responsible and inclusive Indonesian family and society.

Mission:

  • Empowering the community to create a responsible family.
  • Building an inclusive youth movement.
  • Providing comprehensive, professional and inclusive sexual and reproductive health services.
  • Influencing and empowering policy makers to respect, protect, and fulfil SRHR.
  • Develop a professional organization to achieve independence and sustainability.

Japan Family Planning Association, Inc.

Japan Family Planning Association (JFPA) is a civil society organization established in 1954. 

JFPA believes in the life-cycle approach when addressing and delivering sexual and reproductive health services that includes family planning and maternal and child health services. We are attempting to spread this concept by using the abbreviated term, "ripuro herusu" (which means reproductive health in English). 

We are working in the field of modern contraception, adolescent health, health promotion and sexuality education, maternal and child health, infertility counselling, sexual health of middle-aged women, treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), prevention of sexual violence and child abuse.  JFPA also promotes international cooperation in partnership with doctors, health nurses, midwives, health workers, nursing teachers and social workers. We also advocate for women’s and adolescent health issues and engages policy and lawmakers. 

JFPA works hand-in-hand with the government and strives to achieve ‘a society where everyone in the country can have access to voluntary reproductive health services.’  

Our activities include: 

  • Printing/Issuing of our original publication “Kazoku to Kenko" (which means family and health in English) and holding various seminars and workshops for educational and public relations purposes. 
  • Providing services and information on adolescent health, contraception, infertility, sexuality education, prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and heredity through clinic-based counselling.
  • Developing and distributing educational material and equipment which promotes reproductive health. 

 

Family Health Association of Korea

Family Health Association of Korea formerly Korean Family Planning; Maternal and Child Health Association (KFP&MCHA) was established in 1990 in Pyongyang as a non-profit organization that provides sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services including family planning (FP). 

FHAK joined IPPF as an associate member on June 22nd, 1991 and gained full membership in November 1995.  

We are committed to providing SRH services including modern FP methods as well as SRH information through information, education and communications materials to the population in rural and mountainous areas. 

Every year, FHAK delivers around 410,000 sexual and reproductive health services to 114,000 clients through 257 service delivery points, including 9 permanent clinics and 8 mobile facilities and 240 associated health facilities (AHFs). 

Korea Population, Health and Welfare Association

The Korea Population, Health and Welfare Association (KoPHWA), is a leading non-profit organization in South Korea founded under the Maternal and Child Health Law, and has played a great role in the successful implementation of population and reproductive health programmes since 1961.  

Our Vision: 

  • To become a leading agency in family planning that promotes and ensures a healthy community.   

Our Mission:  

  • To become a supportive partner through improving sexual and reproductive healthcare for individuals and families.   

Our Goals: 

  • To improve quality of life by responding to population change; 
  • To realize healthy social networks in the community;  
  • To operate a professional and creative organization.  

In pursuit of these goals, KoPHWA runs a wide range of information, education, and communication (IEC) programmes to raise public awareness of population issues and is active in young people’s education and participation.  

We deliver Maternal and Child Health (MCH) and Family Health services, particularly to women and children through 13 branch clinics; we also provide mobile OB-GYN services to increase women's access to medical and health information and services, especially the marginalized groups. KoPHWA’s works of developing and distributing high-quality materials have consistently contributed to creating a family-friendly childbirth and childcare environment as well as promoting good sexual and reproductive health practice. 

A woman receives healthcare
03 February 2022

Alternative approaches to providing healthcare to women and girls in Papua New Guinea during COVID-19

Papua New Guinea (PNG), one of the most populated countries in the Pacific, also has one of the highest maternal death rates in the Asia and Pacific regions. The current downward trend of women accessing health facilities or having a skilled birth attendant present during childbirth is alarming. An estimation from 2018 showed that two out of three women in PNG had no access to contraceptives due to geographic, cultural, and economic barriers. These concerning estimates are expected to be further derailed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic brought a direct life-threatening impact to PNG’s unprepared health care systems. Many people live with pre-existing vulnerabilities such as lack of access to basic services and healthcare facilities, or who live in natural disaster-prone areas. At the centre of this situation are vulnerable women and girls, especially those with little or no access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services, including contraception - a vital health component that is often deprioritised in crisis settings. Against this backdrop, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is currently supporting the Papua New Guinea Family Health Association (PNGFHA) to extend essential SRH services from its eight static clinics in hard-to-reach communities via the mobile clinics outreach program. The main objective of this response is to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on mortality and morbidity due to adverse SRH conditions. This will include the delivery of crucial Minimal Initial Service Package (MISP) services; the continuation of comprehensive SRH services; the provision of public health information to communities; and COVID-19 infection prevention and control education. Funded by the Australian government through the SPRINT program, the community outreach mobile clinics are working in 12 districts across four provinces including East New Britain, Eastern Highlands, Morobe, and National Capital District. The National Department of Health is the main coordinator, alongside provincial health authorities, UNFPA, health protection clusters and IPPF Humanitarian for PNGFHA.  Throughout the pandemic, PNGFHA has continued operating its eight static clinics and it has set up an additional 12 mobile clinics since July 2020 with a total of 26 clinical and non-clinical staff.  Access to sexual and reproductive health Accessibility is the key factor behind this initiative. 85% of the population is estimated to live in rural areas in PNG and have no or minimal form of public transportation to get to public health facilities. With government-imposed stay at home orders, many people are unable or reluctant to travel amid fears of becoming infected at the health facilities. Women at the Tuna Bay settlement outside of the capital, Port Moresby, have little access to health facilities within their local area. Many women like Vavine Kila fear for their own and their children’s health and wellbeing but are unable to access the healthcare they need due to the high cost of transportation.  “We don’t normally get access to these services in our community,” said Vavine. “When we go out to other locations, sometimes we wait until late, and also it is expensive to travel up and down. It is very vital to bring the services into the community so our people can benefit from it, for the betterment of our children.”  The PNGFHA’s eight mobile clinics across PNG cut down locals’ travelling and healthcare costs. These clinics also extend underserved communities’ access to SRH services including family planning services, contraception, immunisation, and other health treatments. Local and safe spaces Local, and primarily female, aid workers are at the core of this response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Christine Atu is one of the aid workers that joined PNGFHA from the PNG public healthcare system. She is working alongside youth apprentices like midwife Dalyn Maira at the mobile clinics. Their exchange of experience, expertise and insights into the local culture and context ensure the smooth delivery of essential service to the local communities. 

A healthcare worker
26 November 2021

Samoa: A holistic approach to ending sexual and gender-based violence

With a tiny population of just under 200,000 people, data shows that people in the Polynesian Island nation of Samoa on average enjoy a higher quality of life than other countries in the Pacific. And in July 2021, Samoa elected its first female Prime Minister, Fiama Naomi Mata’afa, which generated hope and excitement for more progress for women and girls. But the Prime Minister has her work cut out for her; during the country’s Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights council in November, the need to address gender-based violence was a recurring issue.   "There is a significant problem with violence towards several different vulnerable groups in Samoa, particularly people of sexual and gender minorities, people with disabilities, women and girls, and children," said Thalia Kehoe Rowden, a representative of the Initiative.   Alarming rates of SGBV   Like nearly every other country around the world, the Pacific Islands are prone to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) – a critical human rights issue that pervades many aspects of society. Global estimates published this year by the World Health Organization indicate that about 1 in 3 (or roughly 736 million) women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime – an alarming figure that remains unchanged for the past decade. According to a 2018 National Public Inquiry into Family Violence almost nine in 10 Samoan women have experienced physical or emotional violence from family members, six out of 10 have experienced intimate partner violence and one in five women have been raped.  “In Samoa, SGBV is a great concern. It is an issue that requires immediate action at the national level,” said Lealaiauloto Liai Iosefa-Siitia, the Executive Director of the Samoa Family Health Association (SFHA). “Samoa needs a holistic approach to reduce the risks of SGBV. All partners should come together and establish a better coordinated and effective way of addressing the issue.”  An IPPF Member Association, SFHA provides reproductive health and family planning services through a permanent clinic in the capital city of Apia, and a mobile unit which visits rural areas and the outer islands to provide educational and contraceptive services.  A data deficit  But according to Iosefa-Siita, the greatest challenge in tackling SGBV in Samoa is a lack of data.  “Data on SGBV is not properly coordinated and disaggregated,” she said. “These challenges may be due to questions of who is responsible for what type of data, who is the national agency responsible, who are the service providers and many more.”  Since 1995, there have been four major studies into the prevalence of SGBV in Samoa. But the length of time between each of these studies makes it difficult to identify trends in reporting violence or the potential impact of new interventions and services.   However, steps are being taken at a policy level. The Government of Samoa recently launched inclusive governance, family safety and gender equality policies and the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development has developed an Interagency Essential Services Guide that helps guide service providers on the elimination of GBV.  SFHA is also developing a Standard of Procedures which incorporates a referral pathway for victims of SGBV at a national level.   “We continue to advocate for sexual and reproductive health rights as one instrumental aspect for the prevention of SGBV at the national level through contribution to national guidelines such as the Interagency Essential Services Guide, the Family Safety Bill by the National Human Rights Institute, the National Policy on Disaster Risk Management and others,” said Iosefa-Siita.  

Promotion of Family Health Association of Lao PDR

The promotion of family health association of Lao PDR (PFHA) is a non-profit association established in 2012. Its roots can be traced to the safe motherhood project jointly implemented by IPPF and UNFPA in the northern province of Oudomxay.

Our vision:

  • to create a healthy and happy society, contributing towards bringing Lao PDR out of least developed nation status.

Our mission:

  • to be the leading family health association striving to provide all people with innovative and up-to-date reproductive health information and quality services by empowering individuals through raising awareness of reproductive health knowledge, information and services and improving quality of reproductive healthcare and services for its beneficiaries in collaboration with government authorities, relevant stakeholders, and other civil society organizations.

PFHA aims at contributing to Lao PDR sustainable development targets, particularly focusing on advancing the sexual reproductive health and rights of vulnerable and marginalized groups in remote areas.

We also support public health facilities, such as district hospitals and health centers. In 2020, PFHA supported 59 associated public health centres and managed one (1) ma static clinic, serving an average of 94,852 clients with 287,910 services.

Humanitarian camp, Philippines

COP26: “For women and girls especially, we need sweeping, systemic change”

Guest perspective by Shiphrah Belonguel, Feminist Activist & Writer/researcher, Philippines Growing up in typhoon-prone, archipelagic Philippines, I have no shortage of mental images to associate with climate change and its crushing impacts on people’s lives and livelihood. I’ve seen entire cities flooded, call centers set up to receive donation pledges and rescue alerts, and people stranded on the roofs of their homes waiting for rescue or crowded at evacuation centers waiting in anxiety. More recently, I have gotten to know more gendered impacts of typhoons and other climate disasters. I’ve come to understand that women and gender minorities are often the ones who have to adjust to keep their families together during disaster. They also become vulnerable to sexual harassment and violence in evacuation centers and humanitarian set-ups in the aftermath. Impact on rural communities Living in urban centers most of my life, I would hear people lament over drainage systems as if climate-related disasters were merely a problem of infrastructure. I hadn’t realized then how much of this discussion would leave some of the most vulnerable populations out of the conversation, particularly those who are living in rural areas. For rural women, specifically, climate change is also a health problem. As the ones who have to spend the most time out in the fields, they are vulnerable to heat strokes, skin problems, and eye irritation. For those engaged in other livelihood activities like weaving, experiencing weather that swung between rain and hot weather can be disruptive as weaving is usually done outdoors and as a community. Rural women make up some of the communities whose livelihood and well-being are tied to their ecosystems, such as peasant, fisherfolk, and Indigenous peoples’ communities. When climate change and environmental degradation result in loss of livelihood, women are often forced to migrate and work in informal, exploitative, and unregulated labor sectors, significantly eliminating their access to public and quality health care systems. In many communities, women have also stood to be environmental defenders against land grabbers and extractive industries that come in to commodify their ecosystems and contribute to the worsening of the climate crisis. Currently, the Philippines is known to be one of the deadliest countries for land and environmental defenders in the world and the deadliest in Asia. Intense weather brings additional barriers to healthcare Clearly, the impacts of the climate crisis are gendered. The sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of women and gender minorities are also at risk. Those living in contexts with weak and uneven public healthcare systems may be unprepared for additional barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health information and services that will be brought about by more intense weather conditions and disasters. In the Philippines where home birthing is illegal, rural women are giving birth on the way to hospitals because these are often far from their communities. For the longest time, disasters in the Philippines have been followed by a Greek chorus of politicians singing praises of the Filipino’s capacity for resilience. Thankfully, the ‘resilience’ narrative has died down in recent years. Now, more and more people are realizing the real threat of climate change and seeking accountability from the government as well as global institutions to tackle the climate crisis head-on. Optimism at a critical time for the world This week, activists from all over the world are doing just that by gathering or tuning into the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties happening in Glasgow, Scotland. While there have been many criticisms of COP26, ranging from issues related to lack of inclusivity and transparency to willful inaction on the part of Global North governments, I remain optimistic because of the engagement of activists, and particularly feminists who continue to highlight the gendered impacts of the climate crisis with a particular focus on people’s SRHR. One government leader that has earned the respect of many is Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados, who in her speech during the opening of COP 26 urged her fellow government leaders not to compromise on targets and to ensure financing for climate change. According to her, anything else is a “death sentence”, especially on island nations like Barbados. She also posed an important question: “What have we learned from COVID?”. Indeed, our COVID-19 experience should serve as a warning as both it and climate change are sustained crises that necessitate global solutions. In terms of SRHR, we know that sexual and reproductive health services have been disrupted, if not blatantly deprioritized. This is evident in cases documented in the past year of maternal healthcare facilities converted into dedicated COVID-19 facilities and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, including safe abortion and post-abortion care services, in many areas suspended. Missing voices must be heard How can we make sure that in times of climate disaster, this will not be the case? SRHR and climate justice activists should work together to propose solutions that will address the needs of the most vulnerable among us. SRHR activists have to resist racist and anti-poor population control narratives and climate justice activists should continue to emphasize gender and human rights in the climate agenda. We need to listen to the missing voices at COP26, the ones that are out in their communities, defending their land and environment, who are at once impacted by the climate crisis and gender inequality. We need to call for sweeping, systemic changes so women, girls, and gender minorities are able to make decisions for their bodies, health, and lives, free from discrimination, violence, and the threat of disaster. We need to center discussions around justice and accountability as women in the global south contribute the least to the crisis but make up some of the most affected populations. Women have been carrying the burden of care and compromising their health and lives for too long. Governments and institutions should follow their example and take leadership now.

Family Planning Association of Hong Kong

The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong (FPAHK) was one of the eight founding Member Associations of IPPF. FPAHK was established in 1950 and has a distinguished history as one of the foremost proponents of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and the belief that good family planning is an essential component in the health and well-being both of the individual and society as a whole. 

We work through 17 service points, including 9 permanent clinics, 1 activity and resource centre, 1 mobile classroom and 6 community-based distributors/community-based services (CBDs/CBSs). Our services include contraception, abortion, pre-marital and pre-pregnancy check-up, treatment/consultation on subfertility, women’s health service, cervical cancer screening, menopause, men’s health service and sex therapy. The organization also offers counselling to young people and couples with emotional or relationship issues.  

The Member Association provides family life and sexuality education to students and training to parents, teachers and professionals. It develops resources and supporting services to promote delivery of sexuality education. It conducts clinical and sociological research in areas pertaining to sexuality, fertility regulation and population. It raises public awareness of the importance of SRH through various media channels. 

 

Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association

In 1957 the Indonesian planned parenthood association (IPPA) was established with the aim of realizing responsible parenthood believing that family is the main pillar in realizing community welfare. Responsible parenthood is understood and interpreted through the dimensions of birth, education, health, welfare and the future.

Values:

  • Respect human dignity, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, people with HIV, people living with disabilities, religion, race, ethnicity, political orientation, social and economic status.
  • Upholding the values of democracy, non-discrimination, gender equality and justice, social justice, personal autonomy, freedom of thought, opinion, expression and association.
  • Upholding and mainstreaming sexual and reproductive health rights in all situations and opportunities.
  • Stick to volunteerism, pioneering work, professionalism, trustworthiness, transparency, independence, sustainability and justice.

Vision:

  • Responsible and inclusive Indonesian family and society.

Mission:

  • Empowering the community to create a responsible family.
  • Building an inclusive youth movement.
  • Providing comprehensive, professional and inclusive sexual and reproductive health services.
  • Influencing and empowering policy makers to respect, protect, and fulfil SRHR.
  • Develop a professional organization to achieve independence and sustainability.

Japan Family Planning Association, Inc.

Japan Family Planning Association (JFPA) is a civil society organization established in 1954. 

JFPA believes in the life-cycle approach when addressing and delivering sexual and reproductive health services that includes family planning and maternal and child health services. We are attempting to spread this concept by using the abbreviated term, "ripuro herusu" (which means reproductive health in English). 

We are working in the field of modern contraception, adolescent health, health promotion and sexuality education, maternal and child health, infertility counselling, sexual health of middle-aged women, treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), prevention of sexual violence and child abuse.  JFPA also promotes international cooperation in partnership with doctors, health nurses, midwives, health workers, nursing teachers and social workers. We also advocate for women’s and adolescent health issues and engages policy and lawmakers. 

JFPA works hand-in-hand with the government and strives to achieve ‘a society where everyone in the country can have access to voluntary reproductive health services.’  

Our activities include: 

  • Printing/Issuing of our original publication “Kazoku to Kenko" (which means family and health in English) and holding various seminars and workshops for educational and public relations purposes. 
  • Providing services and information on adolescent health, contraception, infertility, sexuality education, prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and heredity through clinic-based counselling.
  • Developing and distributing educational material and equipment which promotes reproductive health. 

 

Family Health Association of Korea

Family Health Association of Korea formerly Korean Family Planning; Maternal and Child Health Association (KFP&MCHA) was established in 1990 in Pyongyang as a non-profit organization that provides sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services including family planning (FP). 

FHAK joined IPPF as an associate member on June 22nd, 1991 and gained full membership in November 1995.  

We are committed to providing SRH services including modern FP methods as well as SRH information through information, education and communications materials to the population in rural and mountainous areas. 

Every year, FHAK delivers around 410,000 sexual and reproductive health services to 114,000 clients through 257 service delivery points, including 9 permanent clinics and 8 mobile facilities and 240 associated health facilities (AHFs). 

Korea Population, Health and Welfare Association

The Korea Population, Health and Welfare Association (KoPHWA), is a leading non-profit organization in South Korea founded under the Maternal and Child Health Law, and has played a great role in the successful implementation of population and reproductive health programmes since 1961.  

Our Vision: 

  • To become a leading agency in family planning that promotes and ensures a healthy community.   

Our Mission:  

  • To become a supportive partner through improving sexual and reproductive healthcare for individuals and families.   

Our Goals: 

  • To improve quality of life by responding to population change; 
  • To realize healthy social networks in the community;  
  • To operate a professional and creative organization.  

In pursuit of these goals, KoPHWA runs a wide range of information, education, and communication (IEC) programmes to raise public awareness of population issues and is active in young people’s education and participation.  

We deliver Maternal and Child Health (MCH) and Family Health services, particularly to women and children through 13 branch clinics; we also provide mobile OB-GYN services to increase women's access to medical and health information and services, especially the marginalized groups. KoPHWA’s works of developing and distributing high-quality materials have consistently contributed to creating a family-friendly childbirth and childcare environment as well as promoting good sexual and reproductive health practice.