SRHR Awareness a Priority for the Samoa Family Health Association

Since September 2016, the Samoa Family Health Association (SFHA) has conducted over 10 awareness programs, reaching over 1000 people, on sexual and reproductive health and rights for village communities around Samoa.

SFHA’s programs are conducted in collaboration with Samoan Government ministries and bodies and also focuses on gender based violence (GBV) and human rights issues. While the program is mainly for women and men in rural communities, SFHA also includes businesses and government entities in its outreach.

For SFHA, it’s not just about creating awareness on the issues but also about providing information on the availability of services – for example, letting people know that the Ministry of Police provides information on how survivors of GBV can get assistance and access services such as counselling, and how members of the community can report issues.

SFHA also offers access to contraceptive services through the awareness programs.

“We work closely with our partners in the Government of Samoa such as the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, the Ministry of Police and the Office of the Ombudsman to bring a range of information and services on sexual and reproductive health and surrounding issues to communities where this information is not easily accessible,” said Ms Ulisese Tapuvae, SFHA’s Clinical Manager and Project Coordinator.

One of the awareness sessions held in the village of Lotofaga in the Aleipata district, was attended by close to 100 women in the community.

Ms Matauaina Molioo, Secretary of the Lotofaga Women’s Committee shared:

“We are very fortunate to have this kind of program here in our rural community where we can access contraceptive services, learn about sexual and reproductive health and other issues that affect us on a regular basis.” 

Similar sentiments were shared by Ms Mamapo Paleono, one of the session participants.

“It is very helpful for young women like me to learn about these sensitive issues in a comfortable and open environment,” she said.

SFHA plans to continue the programs until the end of 2016 and since November, has also started working with communities on the island of Savai’i.

The International Planned Parenthood Federation, with support from Pacific Women, is working with eight member associations in the Pacific, including SFHA in addressing sexual and reproductive health and rights and other health inequalities.

Article prepared by DFAT, Samoa Post.