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August 14th, 2014

IPS UN Correspondent Joan Erakit was invited by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to be part of a seven-week media mission to Haiti, Sierra Leone, Niger, Ethiopia, Burundi, Madagascar and Laos. Erakit travelled to remote areas within each country to look specifically at reproductive health and family planning.

UN Correspondent Joan Erakit interviews young women about early marriage, reproductive health and education at a “Safe House” in Niamey, Niger. July 4, 2014. Credit: Joan Erakit

UN Correspondent Joan Erakit interviews young women about early marriage, reproductive health and education at a “Safe House” in Niamey, Niger. July 4, 2014. Credit: Joan Erakit

According to UNFPA, each of the seven countries has seen an increase in contraceptive prevalence rates, service delivery points and budget allocations for reproductive health commodities.

The media mission which started in Haiti on June 15 and ended in Laos on August 3 allowed Erakit to visit different villages and speak with locals about contraceptive use, early child marriage, fistula, maternal and newborn health, access to sexual and reproductive health information, types of contraceptives preferred and impact of family planning on community.

During the mission, UNFPA facilitated one-on-one interviews with various ministers of health, private sector, NGOs and some heads of state.

IPS will produce 7 stories under the theme: Seven Countries, Seven Stories – A Global Approach to Reproductive Health & Family Planning before the 69th session of the General Assembly. Photographs from the mission can be found via the IPS Pinterest page.

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