An important national law introduced in Guatemala in 2005, Ley de Acceso Universal y Equitativo de Servicios de Planificación, allows each citizen the right to access and use family planning. A monumental step, to be sure, but for many political and social reasons that law did not pass for four years and only after many legal battles.
The law approaches family planning as a human rights issue and includes these provisions:
- Health providers offer modern methods of family planning
- Health providers have the capacity to offer high quality family planning services based on medical criteria
- Family planning users, especially those living in rural areas, receive comprehensive consultation and are able to select the best family planning method for their specific situation
- Governmental organizations collaborate with the private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on mass media campaigns to reach the population with culturally sensitive information on traditional and modern methods of family planning, their advantages and disadvantages, and where to find them
- The law be applied at the national level in all public and private schools and health institutions, including the social security and NGOs.
While the intent of the law was lofty, and its passage celebrated, very few citizens knew about it. The transformative power of its passing was being lost. The challenge was to inform citizens nationwide that they now had a right to ask for and receive family planning, and to encourage them to make this major change in their personal behavior for their family’s health and well-being.
Enter PASMO (Pan American Social Marketing Organization). After launching a successful campaign in 2009 to create awareness of and demand for modern family planning methods among both users and providers, it added a new campaign in 2012 to increase knowledge among target populations about Guatemala’s family planning law to empower men and women to defend their rights. It aimed to raise awareness among providers as well.
The Health COMpass is pleased to present the story of this campaign, which resulted in a significant increase in the population’s knowledge about their rights and the family planning law as an SBCC Spotlight titled, Family Planning Law Campaign, Guatemala.
NOTE: This image was voted Photoshare Image of the Year in the 10th Annual 2014 Photoshare Photo Contest & Best photo of the Family Planning and Reproductive Health category, 9th Annual 2013 Photoshare Photo Contest, organized by K4Health Project, Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs.