MSV Impact

Case study: Reaching underserved factory workers in Vietnam

 According to a Marie Stopes Vietnam survey in 2015, 20% of pregnancies among factory workers are unintended and around 40% of female workers quit their job after giving birth. Reproductive health care, thus, is one of the top priorities for female workers. Counselling female workers on suitable contraceptive options and allowing them the autonomy to select the method of their choice has the potential to help these women not only improve their reproductive health, but also to better support themselves and their families financially and have more control over their lives.

Tran Thi Thiep has been working at the Pou Yuen factory for 14 years. Thiep and her husband, who is also a factory worker, have two children, aged 12 and 6 years old. After their second child, Thiep wanted to find a contraceptive method to protect her from unintended pregnancies. 

"I went to a pharmacy near my house to buy the contraceptive pill because I know some of my friends have used it and none of them have had any problems with it. But when I started using the pill, almost every month my period became very painful. Sometimes it was so painful that I couldn't even go to work" said Thiep. 

Tran Thi Thiep works at Pou Yuen factory

Thiep lives far from the Pou Yuen factory, which means she has to leave home for work very early and doesn't return until late. As a consequence, to visit a clinic to seek sexual and reproductive health care Thiep would have to take a day off work, which was both time consuming and costly. 

"Last year, my colleagues and I were informed about a project implemented by Marie Stopes Vietnam, and funded by the Australian Government, to establish a BlueStar corner right inside the Pou Yuen factory to provide sexual and reproductive health and family planning services for workers. I visited the BlueStar clinic and told the doctor about my problem. The doctor told me that it is possible the oral pill is not suitable for my body and she counselled me on different types of family planning methods. I decided to use the contraceptive implant and my body has adapted to it very well. Now I don't get painful periods anymore" Thiep said happily when asked about the BlueStar corner at Pou Yuen general clinic. "The doctor also told me to relax more, drink more water, and eat more vegetables and less oily foods to help minimize tiredness and pain during my periods. I found the information very helpful and shared it with my colleagues so that they could also be healthier."

Tran Thi Thiep, and many other female workers just like her, are proving that increased awareness of sexual and reproductive health, as well as being able to conveniently access quality sexual and reproductive health services when needed can help workers to take care of their reproductive health, prevent unwanted pregnancies and be more confident, which in turn helps them to be more productive and increase their income.

Blue Star is a network of franchised obstetric-gynecological and FP clinics. These franchisees increase access to FP services, safe abortions and quality RH services in Vietnam. They target vulnerable women including youth and low income in urban and peri-urban areas.

In 2017, the network of close to 300 clinics served over 880,000 client visits, generated over 440,000 CYPs. 


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