Marie Stopes Vietnam

Bringing sexual and reproductive healthcare to female workers at Pou Yuen Factory

Nearly 80,000 workers at the factory have access reproductive health and family planning information and services through the onsite BlueStar clinic, located inside the factory, since 2016. The BPP initiative has helped more than 7,900 female workers access onsite healthcare services, and as a result an estimated 856 workers have avoided unintended pregnancies. Service quality has been improved through clinical and service training for 38 health staff at the factory, clinical supervision and a specialist client-centered clinic offering safe, confidential, and non-judgmental services. As a result, the number of clinic visits has increased tenfold, reaching an average of 2,000 clients each month in 2018. Củ Phát Nghiệp, the chairman of the trade union at the factory, emphasized a reduction in complaints from factory workers and a more engaged workforce overall. In fact, ninety-five percent of worker agreed that the factory had paid good attention to female workers.  There were also had many other useful activities conducted by the program, particularly the worker representative program and communications sessions held by Marie Stopes Vietnam, which enhanced knowledge about reproductive services and increased productivity.

The partnership has brought about commercial returns for a private sector company, while contributing to a healthier and more empowered female workforce, who can choose if, when and how many children to have in the future. Prior to the initiative, the factory clinic was not effectively leveraging reimbursements from the national health insurance scheme. Since the introduction of the BPP program, Pou Yuen factory has achieved commercial returns via an increase in health insurance reimbursements. Between 2015 and 2017, national health insurance reimbursements to the factory increased by 31%, leading to over USD$90,000 in additional revenue for the factory clinic. Over time, this will reduce the financial burden of operational costs and allow for cost-savings to be reinvested into the clinic.

Ms. Cao Thi Kim Ngoc, a 35-year-old factory worker, is one of thousands of female workers at the Pou Yuen company.

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Ngoc and her husband had two children - a boy and a girl. Like many other parents, their main goal is to be financially stable enough to cover all their expenses and support their children to go to school. After their second child, because of lack of reproductive health knowledge, Ngoc started worrying about unintended pregnancy, and knew she needed to find a contraceptive method that was safe and suitable for her.

The BlueStar clinic provides comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services for female workers, including modern contraception, pregnancy tests and antenatal check-ups, examination and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and early cervical cancer screening.

Moreover, learning from her own story, Ngoc believes that every woman should be able to access sexual and reproductive health information from an early age. She feels that this is especially important for women who have daughters, so they can pass on their knowledge and help their daughters avoid an unintended pregnancy. The program runs events for workers at the factory to raise awareness of sexual and reproductive health and provide workers with accurate and reliable information. Ngoc now knows how to take good care of not only her own reproductive health, but also her daughter’s.

For Ngoc and thousands of other female workers at the Pou Yuen company the program has had a direct and notably positive impact on their lives, as they now have more control over their reproductive health and have hope for a brighter future for themselves and their families.

 

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