June 22, 2022
LGBTQ+ Health Needs Require Targeted Interventions to Address Health Disparities
Our teams work to break down these barriers and to advocate for the easing of restrictive health legislation.
The two areas where we focus the majority of our efforts are providing sexual and reproductive healthcare to young people and conducting harm reduction activities with drug users in the capital of Abidjan.
In addition, abortion law is extremely restrictive and medical staff are often untrained in the treatment of unwanted pregnancies.
In Ivory Coast, government health services directed towards young people often do not address their needs, are unaffordable, and social stigma often prevents adolescents from accessing them. Only 14% of young people use any method of contraception and many teenagers fall pregnant while enrolled in high school. By the time they are between 15-19 years of age, 30% of teenagers have already had their first child.
In addition, reproductive healthcare legislation restricts access to safe abortions and family planning services are severely underfunded. Many teenagers who are unable to care for a child end up resorting to unsafe and dangerous abortions.
Doctors of the World currently supports 45 healthcare centers in 3 districts where we provide free healthcare for pregnant women and children under 5 years old.
We also provide training to medical staff in the treatment of unwanted pregnancies.
In the Ivory Coast, drug users are often stigmatized by society and end up living in run down areas that have little sanitation or access to water. This population also struggles to access healthcare and is disproportionately affected by diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B, and tuberculosis. In Abidjan, an estimated 5.4% of drug users are HIV positive and 10% suffer from Hepatitis B.
Since 2015, our teams have worked alongside local organizations to conduct prevention and harm reduction activities with drug users in Abidjan. We work to improve the support they receive from the healthcare system, to combat the stigma they face, and to strengthen the capacity of our national partners.