Access to family planning information and contraceptives can change lives. You need to look no further than Lata’s story to understand why. Married by 16 and a mother by 18, Lata had three children before her 21st birthday. Despite once buying contraceptive pills and trying to use them—with no knowledge of how they worked and, ultimately, she had no success.
She’s in startlingly large company. In her region of central India, a third of her married peers were under the legal age of 18 when they married, and nearly 30 percent have at least 3 children. The contraceptive prevalence in the state of Chhattisgarh where she lives is 57.2 percent.
During Lata’s third pregnancy, her life changed. A community health worker visited the young mother in her home and connected her to a local health center where Parvati Saho, a Jhpiego-trained nurse talked about the maternal health benefits of birth spacing and provided Lata with family planning counseling. Together, Lata and her husband chose a long-term contraceptive device, following the birth of their child, a decision that will help keep their family healthy and strong.
International Women’s Day affords us the opportunity to raise our voices in support of the 225 million women like Lata who want to plan their family by choice, not by chance. Today is the day for action; for reaching women with quality health services wherever they live and increasing access to safe, low-cost postpartum family planning methods. Jhpiego is working in more than 30 countries to make that happen.
With your support, we can achieve our global health goals, empower women and achieve healthy, thriving communities by expanding access to vital health services like family planning. Together, we can ensure a world in which women like Lata have every opportunity to decide their future and thrive.