17 “healthy holiday” events have been organised. (Photo: laodong.com)

HCM City (VNA) - More than 100,000 female guest workers in factories in the southern provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai have better awareness of reproductive health care and gender equality thanks to a project funded by Marie Stopes Vietnam.

The project, started in 2013, aims to advance the social and economic empowerment of female migrant workers through facilitating access to reproductive health services and gender-sensitive initiatives in the two localities.

Vice President of the Binh Duong Labour Union Truong Thi Bich Hanh hailed the project’s practical achievements, saying that under the project, 62 mobile medical check-ups have been conducted across nine factories in the two provinces during business hours to facilitate access to these services among female workers and to save them time and travel costs.

As many as 17 “healthy holiday” events have also been organised, encouraging the targeted beneficiaries to participate in games and activities related to reproductive and sexual health, thus raising their understanding of the issue.

Additionally, training courses have targeted hundreds of medical staff and midwives at the factories, while communication and consultation work have been promoted.

Nguyen Thi Bich Hang, Chief Representative of Marie Stopes Vietnam, has called for joint efforts by localities, enterprises and trade unions to continue their project.

Hang cited a survey conducted under the project in a number of factories in the two provinces found that nearly 20 percent of pregnancies were unplanned.

Nearly 70 percent of their female workers have gynaecological diseases, and only half of them go for check-ups in their factories’ medical clinics. About 28.6 percent have never accessed any reproductive health care services, Hang said.

The survey also showed that nearly 42 percent of the female workers were hesitant to use birth-control measures, she said, adding that the project has contributed to improving the quality and capability of the medical clinics at factories, thus ensuring a healthy and committed workforce.

Some 65 percent of female workers gave good and very good ratings for the medical establishments in their workplaces, up from 35 percent before the project began.

Ly Thanh Thao, a worker in Binh Duong, said it was the attitude of the obstetricians and midwives that encouraged them to use the services.

Peter Tsai from the Pou Chen Group said the company has always given priority to providing reproductive health services for its female workers, who account for more than 80 percent of its workforce.

According to Deputy Director of the Dong Nai Health Department Huynh Cao Hai, the sustainable way to enhance female workers’ health is to encourage all factories to offer reproductive healthcare services, especially those with a large number of female workers.-VNA