Representatives from Marie Stopes, Pou Yuen and the Australian Government met in Ho Chi Minh City to formally launch the new partnership under the Australian Government’s Business Partnerships Platform (BPP).
The partnership combines social and business objectives to support a healthier, more productive female workforce in Vietnam. The initiative will be delivered at Pou Yuen’s on-site clinic at the Pou Yuen factory in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. With 95,000 workers, the majority of whom are women of reproductive age, there is a significant opportunity to better address the specific health needs of these workers.
Partnership to Improve Health Outcomes for 45,000 Factory Workers in Vietnam
Marie Stopes International and Pou Yuen have been working in partnership since 2009 to provide sexual and reproductive health services to Pou Yuen's female factory workers in three of the company's factories in Vietnam. The successful partnership has led to the identification of an opportunity to scale up collaboration for further impact. The availability of sexual and reproductive health services at the Pou Yuen factory clinic, particularly long-term methods of family planning, is limited. This is contributing to high rates of unplanned pregnancy amongst workers. In 2015, nearly half of the female workers resigned after giving birth, impacting their economic independence and ability to financially provide for their families.
Together with the Australian Government, the partners seek to strengthen the quality of service provision whilst generating demand for the uptake of available services. The project is underpinned by an understanding that addressing women's health is a catalytic tool for achieving long-term, broad development objectives benefiting women, their families and their communities.
Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Craig Chittick welcomed the partnership.
“When women have access to family planning, their own health and their family's health is improved, offering opportunities for better education, increased employment and greater family savings. The partnership will work with Marie Stopes and the Pou Chen Group to improve health outcomes of the majority female workforce at Pou Yuen factory. If successful, all partners see the potential for this project to serve as a demonstration project to be replicated in other factories and industrial settings both in Vietnam and in the region,” Mr Chittick said.
The Australian Government has committed AUD$500,000 to this project which will be delivered by the Australian Government aid program’s private sector-linked Business Partnerships Platform. Australia’s contribution will be matched by AUD$500,000 from Pou Yuen to directly support the improved services provision at the clinic.
The partnership will promote best practice in the footwear manufacturing sector, and provide a viable model of ethical sourcing which delivers long term social and economic gain. “The scale of Pou Yuen’s operations is truly remarkable and its achievements are a credit to the women who work there. Marie Stopes is very pleased to be able to contribute to their health and wellbeing,” said Chris Turner, Marie Stopes International Regional Director.
Reported by Thu Nguyen and Chau Thuy