Why Pathfinder Works in Peru
Pathfinder first started working in Peru in 1983. The country has made enormous strides over the last 29 years in the growth of its economy and the development of its public health sector. Thanks to great improvements in the availability and quality of reproductive health and family planning services, Peru has seen its fertility rate drop from 6.5 births per woman in 1969 to 2.5 births per woman today. Nonetheless, great disparities in access to quality health care services still exist. Well-equipped health facilities and trained personnel are heavily concentrated in middle-class urban areas, particularly metropolitan Lima. The overcrowded settlements at Lima’s periphery—products of urban migration—are increasingly underserved, as are many of the country’s geographically isolated areas in the Andes and the Amazon basin. The reproductive health consequences of poor access to basic health care, low modern contraceptive use, and high rates of unsafe abortion are particularly serious for these high-risk populations.
Today, Pathfinder provides technical assistance in family planning, maternal and child health, sexually transmitted infections, HIV and AIDS, and the prevention and control of infections like tuberculosis and malaria. In each of these areas, Pathfinder acts as a facilitator in cross-cutting processes like quality management, human resources training, and the promotion of health behaviors at the community level.
Evidence for Decision-Making
A key aspect of Pathfinder’s approach to systems’ strengthening is collecting data that enables public, private, and community partners to make informed health-related decisions. In Peru, examples of the kinds of data we collect range from the “number of trainers trained on immunizations for Pneumococcal, Rotavirus and Human Papillomavirus” and the “number of small community vaccine campaigns ” to the “number of secondary-level students (age 12-16) reached by activities promoting respiratory health and TB prevention.” Some illustrative data from Pathfinder’s recent projects in Peru include:
- 634 professional teachers of basic regular education from secondary level have been trained in TB prevention
- 610 health care providers have been trained on Pneumococcal, Rotavirus and Human Papilloma Virus vaccinations
- 693,465 community members have participated in TB prevention activities
Building Capacity, Strengthening Systems
The Peruvian government has long-recognized that strengthening health and community systems in Peru would greatly improve the accessibility to and quality of sexual and reproductive health services for many urban and peri-urban citizens. Pathfinder works to strengthen systems and build capacity in Peru by establishing partnerships with key government agencies, universities, and schools.
These partnerships have, for example, allowed Pathfinder to:
- Implement an effective model of postabortion care in hospitals run by the Ministry of Health
- Assist in building the capacity of health providers
- Promote and administer the WHO-endorsed immunization strategy throughout Lima
- Address local barriers to vaccination by forming a network of interdisciplinary teams in each region of the country to combat the myths and prejudices surrounding vaccines
Pathfinder works closely with the Peruvian Ministry of Health to improve mother and newborn health and reduce maternal mortality in La Libertad region of Peru.
Making a Difference: Strengthening a Comprehensive and Integral Response against Tuberculosis in Peru
The project focuses on policy promotion in the health and education sectors and building the capacity of local and regional governments and civil societies.
In 2008, Pathfinder International sponsored a delegation of key Brazilian and Peruvian partners to Mexico City to support ongoing abortion advocacy project in Brazil and Peru.
This paper presents Pathfinder's comprehensive approach to safe abortion programming including provider training, client friendly counseling, addressing the needs of vulnerable populations including youth, community mobilization, and advocacy.
The Pathfindings Publications Series
From 2000 to 2005, Pathfinder International served as the managing partner of the CATALYST Consortium, a global reproductive health initiative.
Investments in family planning—whether at home or abroad—just make sense. Women who have access to a full range of effective contraceptive methods and reproductive health services are better able to protect themselves against HIV, more likely to get further education, and better able to earn a good living to support themselves and their families.