Brazil

Photo by Rebecca Janes

Pathfinder has worked in Brazil since the 1970s, supporting both public and private sector family planning efforts in the country. For the past decade, Pathfinder has focused its programs in the northeastern states of Bahia and Ceara. Though much of this work has taken place in urban centers, in 1995 Pathfinder launched a program to integrate family planning into environmental projects throughout the northeast's geographically isolated regions.

Although Brazil has one of the largest economies in the world, the northeast region of the country, which is home to one-third of Brazil's 187 million people, remains severely underdeveloped. In this area, unmet need for reproductive health and family planning services is substantially higher than that of the country as a whole. Total fertility, for example, is much higher in the northeast, largely a consequence of girls' lack of access to education. Contraceptive prevalence rate, which is 76 percent nationally, is less than 60 percent in the northeast, where the method of choice in 40 percent of cases is still female sterilization. HIV/AIDS is also a growing public health concern, both in this region, and nationwide, where it is estimated that more than one million people are infected.

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