Bayer intensifies its efforts to support women in prioritizing sexual health and family planning amidst COVID-19 challenges

  • COVID-19 is posing an urgent threat to women’s health and empowerment by limiting access to family planning and healthcare services.

  • Bayer works in collaboration with key partners in Vietnam and across the region to deliver various activities to commemorate World Contraception Day, which promotes increased access and availability of family planning and education with the goal of reducing unplanned pregnancies.

  • #HerHero campaign rallies key stakeholders across Asia Pacific to call for a wider support network of everyday heroes to champion and help women overcome the barriers in prioritizing their health, to empower women in making informed choices about family planning and their health

Hanoi, September 25, 2020 – Bayer are continuing their ongoing commitment towards raising public awareness about reproductive health and methods of avoiding unplanned pregnancies among Vietnamese women through a series of activities coinciding with World Contraception Day. With COVID-19 posing an urgent threat to women’s health and ability to plan their families, Bayer today also launched the #HerHero campaign to support women in taking action to prioritize their health and take charge of their lives. Women’s influencers and representatives from key organizations in Asia Pacific came together today at the #HerHero Virtual Forum on Health, Empowerment and Progress and jointly pledged their commitment to be ‘heroes’, those who support and empower women in their communities to help them make informed choices. They also called for wider public support to join in the pledge and give voice to women’s health needs and empowerment.

 

In Vietnam, Bayer works in collaboration with the General Office for Population and Family Planning (GOPFP) to hold a seminar coinciding with World Contraception Day promoting the message "Live Your Life, Lead Your Future“, raising awareness and knowledge among communities about the causes of unintended pregnancy and the benefits of contraception. The seminar is targeted at women of childbearing age and calls for more attention and effort from relevant organizations to help promote family planning.

 

Bayer’s journey in womens’ health advocacy

First launched in 2007, World Contraception Day centers around a vision of a world where every pregnancy is planned, and women are provided with the necessary tools and knowledge to take control of their sexual health and family planning. In support of this mission, Bayer and its partners implemented the Family Planning Education initiative to give Vietnamese women better access to contraceptive knowledge, empowering them to make conscious and informed plans for their lives, families and careers. 

 

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Mr. Nguyen Doan Tu, Director of Government Office of Family Planning, delivered opening speech for the ceremony of the “Live Your Life, Lead your Future” campaign, commemorating the World Contraception Day

 

Since the program’s conception in 2017, the Family Planning Education program has promoted a number of successful activities dedicated to helping WU officers, its members, as well as women and young people nationwide. In the last three years, these activities have included organizing women health festivals, delivering advanced training to WU officers on contraceptive methods and services, developing digital applications to connect officers with women who require sexual health advice, and standardizing communication such as leaflets and other educational resources. 

 

One of the program’s most notable achievements has included the "Live Your Life, Fulfill Your Goals" initiative, which in 2017 saw 12 consecutive contraception knowledge seminars delivered in 12 provinces, involving the commitment of more than 1,200 core WU staffs and the participation of more than 428,000 women in Vietnam. In 2018, the program included 15 seminars for 300 women officials, 1,200 population officials and 17 seminars at universities with the participation of 5,100 students nationwide in intensive training to provide accurate and up-to-date scientific information on modern contraceptives to subjects of reproductive age. In addition, Bayer and its partners have continued to hold an online "Understanding Contraception" competition honoring the tireless contributions of population officials, which in 2018 saw it’s “inspirational story writing” competition receiving a widespread and enthusiastic response from the public.

 

In addition, the program has also engaged the use of online platforms to organize 18 workshops for the WU and 17 seminars at universities throughout Vietnam, which by 2019 collectively provided knowledge to 25 million women nationwide. Last year, the program also launched a mobile application entitled "Live Proactively", which facilitates quick and direct exchange of information with leading experts and access to resources surrounding reproductive health as part of efforts to remain current and relevant in the digital age.

 

Following the success of phase one of the “Family Planning Communication Program for Public Health” initiative, Bayer and GOPFP held a signing ceremony agreeing on a five-year plan for phase two of the program. The 2021-2025 plan reflects Bayer’s ongoing support for national programs that promote awareness of family planning, arising from many years of experience as a market leader in oral contraceptive pills.

 

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 Dr. Tran Thi Lan Huong, Medical Director, Pharmaceuticals division, Bayer Vietnam shared the company’s commitment to national initiatives to enhance awareness and broaden youth’s knowledge about reproductive healthcare

 

Dr. Tran Thi Lan Huong, Medical Director, Pharmaceuticals division, Bayer Vietnam said of the program: “As a trusted partner and leader in Women’s Health, Bayer has been supporting women’s health and family planning needs for the past decades and is committed to helping women achieve their aspirations for the next 60 years and beyond. We recognize the need to overcome social barriers and discuss topics like contraception and gynecological issues which concern women’s health and society at large. In fact, one of our global sustainability goals is to provide 100 million women in low-and-middle income countries with access to family planning, by funding multi-stakeholder aid programs and by ensuring the supply of affordable modern contraceptives. In light of the excellent results we’ve seen in the last three years, Bayer is honored to renew our collaboration with our local partners to enhance awareness and broaden knowledge of reproductive healthcare among Vietnamese women and fulfill our longstanding responsibility towards contributing to national population and family planning goals”.

 

Efforts in support of sexual health education amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

Despite the progress made in empowering women’s lives over the last 60 years, barriers still exist today, made worse by the current pandemic. Many women worldwide are losing access to health and family planning services due to COVID-19 restrictions and are putting off face-to-face medical consultations for seeking professional advice due to fear of contracting the virus. The UN projects that more than 47 million women could lose access to contraception, leading to 7 million unplanned pregnancies in the coming months. These have lifelong health and socio-economic impact on women and their families.

 

In light of the hurdles of accessing health and family planning services due to COVID-19, Bayer Vietnam is taking action to reach out to young people in a way that more effectively engages them on how to prevent the negative effects of unplanned pregnancies. Key features include a viral video promoting reproductive health, informative visual infographics about contraceptive methods, and “Tat Den Cai Then” - an online counseling program designed to provide direct access to psychological and physiological professionals and experts for support surrounding marriage, family, social relationships, as well as sexual health.

 

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Virtual #HerHero Forum calls for Women to Prioritize Family Planning and Their Health despite COVID-19

 

At the same time in the region, Bayer today launched the #HerHero campaign across the Asia Pacific region to support women in taking action to prioritize their health and family planning needs, and take charge of their lives, at the #HerHero virtual forum, organized by Bayer in collaboration with the Population Council, Doctor Anywhere, UWS and media partner Clozette, which also marks the 60th anniversary of the contraceptive pill. Women’s health and family planning topics are not openly discussed in Asia, and women can find it hard to make informed decisions. The #HerHero campaign celebrates the everyday heroes – such as family, friends, pharmacists and doctors – who support women with a safe space to talk about such topics, and calls for the wider public to commit to also being ‘HerHero’ to the women in their networks. The forum was attended by healthcare professionals, policymakers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and women influencers in Asia Pacific. They rallied together through a joint pledge to call for women to prioritize their health and their family planning needs, even during the pandemic. They also called for wider public support to join in the pledge and give voice to women’s health needs and empowerment. These online initiatives are more relevant than ever given the threat to public health posed by the pandemic, and digital platforms also enable organizers to meaningfully engage with a younger generation with interesting, digestible and diversified content.

 

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Dr. Ashish Bajracharya, Deputy Director, Country Strategy and Regional Representative, South & East Asia, Population Council, shared his idea about women’s reproductive health and rights during COVID-19 pandemic.

 

“We would like to invite you to be part of this initiative to support women in achieving their life ambitions by fulfilling their healthcare needs, and empowering them to make informed decisions about their health. With our innovative contraceptive portfolio and digital health initiatives targeted at improving contraception education, Bayer efforts to continue to provide access to scientifically accurate information and freedom of choice to millions of women and young people across Vietnam”, added Dr. Tran Thi Lan Huong.

 

Prior to this activity, to commemorate the pill being a women’s enabler for 60 years, the company has also developed a video which features 6 everyday women of various nationalities in APAC, sharing about what they look forward to in the next 60 years and beyond – for themselves, for their health, for their families and for every woman.

 

About Bayer

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2019, the Group employed around 104,000 people and had sales of 43.5 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.9 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.3 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.

 

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