Issues & Solutions

Reproductive Health

Direct Relief is committed to increasing access to family planning, ending period poverty, and equipping health providers to facilitate safer births.
Nurse Practitioner Nicole Martinez, of the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, speaks with a patient in Goleta, California, on Friday, October 23, 2020. The Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics are among the hundreds of community health centers across the U.S. that received Bayer-donated IUDs to bolster reproductive health services for uninsured women. (Photo by Erin Feinblatt for Direct Relief)
  • 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.

Featured Partners

Healthcare provider Zemaida Hernandez stocking Bayer IUD products on pharmacy shelves at the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, in Goleta, California, on Friday, October 23, 2020. The Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics are among the hundreds of community health centers across the U.S. that received Bayer-donated IUDs to bolster reproductive health services for uninsured women. (Photo by Erin Feinblatt for Direct Relief)

Family Planning

Bayer

Donations of medical products and financial support are increasing access to family planning.
A girl can miss as many as two months of school each year due to a lack of feminine hygiene products during her period. Days For Girls kits last for up to three years and allow girls to menstruate without missing class. Photo by Bryn Blanks/Direct Relief.

Period Poverty

Days for Girls

Period products, including reusable sanitary pads, have been provided to girls and women around the world.
Direct Relief and Medicines 360 are partnering to distribute IUDs to participating clinics across the U.S., providing women with no-cost birth control. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

Family Planning

Medicines360

Regular donations of contraception supports health facilities offering family planning services to uninsured patients.

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Investing in the Health of Women and Girls

Healthcare Provider Ines Mendoza in the pharmacy of the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, in Goleta, California, on Friday, October 23, 2020. The Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics are among the hundreds of community health centers across the U.S. that received Bayer-donated IUDs to bolster reproductive health services for uninsured women. (Photo by Erin Feinblatt for Direct Relief)
Healthcare Provider Ines Mendoza in the pharmacy of the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, in Goleta, California. The Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics are among the hundreds of community health centers across the U.S. that received Bayer-donated IUDs to bolster reproductive health services for uninsured women. (Photo by Erin Feinblatt for Direct Relief)

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:

  1. 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.
Lilletta IUDs are packed for shipment in Direct Relief's warehouse. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)
IUDs are packed for shipment in Direct Relief’s warehouse, bound for health facilities across the U.S. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

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.

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