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Wider reach for rural contraceptive program

Wider reach for rural contraceptive program

The Ministry of Women's and Veteran's Affairs has expanded a reproductive health

project that uses local agents to sell contraceptives in isolated communities.

Around 130 extra agents have started to sell contraceptives in their home

communities in Svay Rieng, Kandal, Battambang and Kampong Chhnang

provinces.

The Community Based Distribution (CBD) scheme gives people in

isolated areas access to reproductive health information as well as

contraceptives, said MoWVA's reproductive health director, Dr Khieu Serey

Vuthea.

"The areas where we implement this program are the areas that are

far away from a health center - at least three kilometers, but more often ten,"

said Vuthea. "With road and transport issues, this is a large distance for

people to cover."

The charge for the contraceptives is small (one month's

supply costs around 500 riel) and goes to the CBD worker, said Vuthea.

"If someone is very poor, they will not be charged. But if we give them

all away we won't know whether it is being used. If ten people buy the pill then

we know that ten people are using it," she said.

Those needing further

advice or contraceptives other than condoms or the pill are referred to the

local health center. Vuthea said increasing knowledge was

essential.

"People have heard things over the years, and many still

believe them: things like 'an IUD will make the uterus wither'. Many are put off

by any sign of side-effects from the pill, and in remote areas some people

didn't even know why a woman becomes pregnant. They think it is a gift from

God," said Vuthea. "Giving information about contraception is not difficult;

changing what people believe is a lot harder."

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