Taking Family Planning to the Next Level in Jamaica
Mia Mazer, Media and Communications Intern
On today's National Day, Jamaica is celebrating a half-century of independence. As the country enters its 50th year of sovereignty, our partner FAMPLAN Jamaica is approaching its own anniversary: 55 years of bringing sexual and reproductive health and rights to all Jamaicans.
FAMPLAN has played a key role in making sexual and reproductive health services available and accessible to Jamaicans. As a result, the country has seen impressive progress at the national and international levels. Fertility rates have declined significantly since the 1970s, as women gained the ability to control the spacing of their pregnancies and number of children.
FAMPLAN pioneered family planning in Jamaica and provides high quality sexual and reproductive health care. FAMPLAN responds to the demand for family planning and reproductive health services for men, women, and young people, and is particularly concerned with vulnerable communities. FAMPLAN's continuous efforts have allowed it to expand access to services by operating clinics in St. Ann’s, Kingston, and Montego Bay.
In recent years FAMPLAN has broadened its focus to include advocacy for school-based comprehensive sexuality education, youth-friendly services, gender equality, and sexual rights. Young people play an active role as leaders in FAMPLAN's Youth Action Movement (YAM). The YAM advocates support young Jamaicans’ right to sexual and reproductive health information and services. These services are critical given that one in five Jamaicans are between the ages of 10 and 19 years old, and Jamaican youth are vulnerable to unintended pregnancy and HIV infection.
FAMPLAN has established a comprehensive sexuality education program within six schools in St. Ann’s and plans to expand to other schools in the surrounding areas. The program equips young people with the knowledge and resources to make informed choices and avoid unintended pregnancy. It also empowers them to take responsibility for their choices and their lives.
While much remains to be done, Jamaica has made significant strides in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights. After 55 years of proven success, it is clear FAMPLAN has more to offer and celebrate with Jamaicans for many years to come.