Direct Relief is committed to increasing access to family planning, ending period poverty, and equipping health providers to facilitate safer births.
Safety net health facilities across the U.S. and globally are improving access to reproductive health care for patients who are uninsured and live in medically underserved areas.
Direct Relief, with the support of companies like Bayer and Medicines360, provides regular shipments of donated contraceptives for family planning to these care facilities.
The organization is also providing financial support to health facilities working to increase services for patients.
Donations of medical products and financial support are increasing access to family planning.
Period products, including reusable sanitary pads, have been provided to girls and women around the world.
Investing in the Health of Women and Girls
For too many people around the world, access to high-quality reproductive health services remain out of reach. Direct Relief is working with health providers in the U.S., and around the world, to change that.
Here are three ways Direct Relief is supporting reproductive health:
- Strengthening Family Planning – It is estimated that worldwide there are 214 million women with an unmet need for modern contraception. Addressing the unmet need for contraception is crucial to meeting the World Health Organization’s Sustainable Development Goals related to health and gender equality. Direct Relief is working on several U.S. based initiatives to reduce the barriers to women accessing family planning services, including access to long-acting reversible contraception. With the support of Medicines360, Bayer and others, Direct Relief supports a network of health facilities providing family planning services to remove barriers and increase access to family planning services for women in medically underserved areas.
2. Working to End Period Poverty – Millions of women and girls worldwide, including in the U.S., lack basic hygiene items to needed to manage their periods. For the 250 million adolescent girls living in poverty, menstruating means they can miss months of school per year due to lack of menstrual hygiene items, and can eventually lead to dropping out of school.
Girls who receive an education are more likely to marry later in life, have fewer children, and are more likely to seek healthcare for themselves and their families. Since 2015, Direct Relief has partnered with Days for Girls, and more recently with Kind Cup, to help women and girls in need get access to reusable menstrual care solutions so that they can stay in school, go to work, and live their lives.
3. Promoting Safe Births – The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 830 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Limited access to health care, poor quality of services, and shortages of health workers or medicine are major contributors to maternal and neonatal mortality. Supporting healthcare providers who are working to reduce the burden of maternal and newborn mortality has long been a focus of Direct Relief. The organization does this by supporting all stages of the pregnancy, including micronutrient support with prenatal vitamins, equipping midwives for safe labor and birth, and the provision of Fistula Repair Modules for women who experience the debilitating childbirth injury of obstetric fistula.