- - -
stories

Stories

Latest stories from IPPF

Spotlight

A selection of stories from across the Federation

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
Story

Frontlines of Progress: Spotlight on Regional Initiatives in Cervical Cancer Elimination

Our Member Associations in the region are dedicated to preventing, treating, and eliminating cervical cancer.

Filter our stories by:

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
story

| 29 January 2024

Frontlines of Progress: Spotlight on Regional Initiatives in Cervical Cancer Elimination

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women globally. About 90% of the 342,000 deaths caused by cervical cancer occurred in low- and middle-income countries. The highest rates of cervical cancer incidence and mortality are in sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, and South-East Asia. Regional differences in the cervical cancer burden are related to inequalities in access to vaccination, screening, and treatment services. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the primary cause of cervical cancer. HPV is mainly transmitted through unprotected sexual contact, including skin-to-skin genital contact. Most HPV infections are self-limiting and can be cleared by the immune system. However, if the infection persists, it may lead to precancerous cervical lesions or even cervical cancer. For individuals with weakened immune systems, such as those with poorly controlled HIV infection, the risk of developing cervical cancer is significantly higher. A comprehensive report on the progress of cervical cancer elimination in the region, released by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Health Working Group, reveals that APEC economies account for approximately 38% of new cases and 35% of global deaths. Data from the report indicate that most APEC economies are furthest along in meeting targets for cervical cancer treatment. The report builds on the 2021 roadmap, which sets policy targets for member economies to bolster health capacity and enable women and girls to lead healthy and productive lives. While a majority of the countries have adopted strategies for the elimination of cervical cancer, ranging from comprehensive programs to specific interventions within broader cancer strategies, there are still notable gaps in implementation. This recognises the need for multistakeholder collaborations, in line with the World Health Organization’s global strategy for cancer elimination. Contributing towards eliminating cervical cancer is a core part of IPPF’s mandate. IPPF adopted a Cervical Cancer Strategy 2020–2024 to ensure women, girls, and affected populations can access cervical cancer information and services, strengthen health equity, address stigma, and challenge harmful social/gender norms that create barriers to accessing timely and high-quality services. Our Member Associations in the ESEAOR region are dedicated to preventing, treating, and eliminating cervical cancer. Here, we highlight the incredible work of some of our Member Associations:  

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
story

| 11 April 2024

Frontlines of Progress: Spotlight on Regional Initiatives in Cervical Cancer Elimination

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women globally. About 90% of the 342,000 deaths caused by cervical cancer occurred in low- and middle-income countries. The highest rates of cervical cancer incidence and mortality are in sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, and South-East Asia. Regional differences in the cervical cancer burden are related to inequalities in access to vaccination, screening, and treatment services. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the primary cause of cervical cancer. HPV is mainly transmitted through unprotected sexual contact, including skin-to-skin genital contact. Most HPV infections are self-limiting and can be cleared by the immune system. However, if the infection persists, it may lead to precancerous cervical lesions or even cervical cancer. For individuals with weakened immune systems, such as those with poorly controlled HIV infection, the risk of developing cervical cancer is significantly higher. A comprehensive report on the progress of cervical cancer elimination in the region, released by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Health Working Group, reveals that APEC economies account for approximately 38% of new cases and 35% of global deaths. Data from the report indicate that most APEC economies are furthest along in meeting targets for cervical cancer treatment. The report builds on the 2021 roadmap, which sets policy targets for member economies to bolster health capacity and enable women and girls to lead healthy and productive lives. While a majority of the countries have adopted strategies for the elimination of cervical cancer, ranging from comprehensive programs to specific interventions within broader cancer strategies, there are still notable gaps in implementation. This recognises the need for multistakeholder collaborations, in line with the World Health Organization’s global strategy for cancer elimination. Contributing towards eliminating cervical cancer is a core part of IPPF’s mandate. IPPF adopted a Cervical Cancer Strategy 2020–2024 to ensure women, girls, and affected populations can access cervical cancer information and services, strengthen health equity, address stigma, and challenge harmful social/gender norms that create barriers to accessing timely and high-quality services. Our Member Associations in the ESEAOR region are dedicated to preventing, treating, and eliminating cervical cancer. Here, we highlight the incredible work of some of our Member Associations:  

banner photo
story

| 07 December 2023

Behind Bars, Beyond Boundaries: Addressing SRHR in Indonesia’s Prisons

According to the World Prison Brief's assessment in May 2022, Indonesia holds the 21st highest prison occupancy rate globally, with prisons and correctional institutions operating at a 208% occupancy rate. This statistic positions Indonesia as the fourth most overcrowded nation in Asia in terms of prison population density. Overcrowding in prisons significantly amplifies the challenges those behind bars face and is further exacerbated by the absence of national-level regulations. Among the most vulnerable in these settings are women, girls, and young individuals, particularly those who are pregnant, nursing, or have specific healthcare needs. A lack of comprehensive healthcare services within these facilities leaves significant gaps in providing essential care.  The Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA), an IPPF Member Association (MA), is leading the way in advancing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services for incarcerated individuals across the country. IPPA has established strategic partnerships in more than ten regions, formalised through Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). These collaborations include the IPPA Aceh Chapter, IPPA West Sumatera Chapter, and IPPA Riau Islands Chapter, among others, serving over 3000 clients. These collaborations encompass a broad spectrum of services, including SRH education, HIV and STI testing, counselling, and ensuring access to affordable sanitary products and mental health support. IPPA also strongly emphasises providing contraceptive services, specialised counselling facilities, cancer screenings, and prenatal care. Through the RESPOND project, IPPA is dedicated to addressing the immediate SRH needs of incarcerated individuals while striving to establish a comprehensive framework that promotes their overall health and well-being. Eko Maryadi, Executive Director of IPPA, highlights that with the generous support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Australia, reproductive health services have been expanded across 25 IPPA chapters. “Our collaboration with the Department of Corrections and local health agencies is focused on addressing the urgent SRH needs of marginalised communities, particularly women and young people in incarcerated settings. By bridging the gaps in the national SRHR landscape, we prioritise underserved groups and ensure they receive the essential health services they deserve,” he said.  Egy, who actively participated in an awareness session organised by IPPA at a Kalimantan Prison, shared her experience. “The cancer screening awareness session was eye-opening for me. It made me realise the importance of regular health check-ups. Getting my first pap smear highlighted how crucial it is for us in prison to access essential healthcare services. It's an integral part of our overall well-being." Rita, who received medical care at a Jakarta prison, shared similar sentiments. "I used to dismiss my symptoms as minor discomfort. However, the information I received during an awareness session with the friendly IPPA medical team made me rethink this. It led to the discovery of uterine fibroids, and I promptly received treatment. Many of us lack information about our health. Focusing on education and raising awareness, particularly about conditions that often go unnoticed, can be life-changing," she said. In a nation where the total prison population exceeds 270,000, the urgency of addressing the dire state of SRHR within Indonesia's overcrowded prisons cannot be overstated. Incarcerated individuals often fall through the cracks of the national healthcare system, making IPPA's services more crucial than ever. For more information, contact:  Malarvili Meganathan,  Regional Communications, Voice & Media Advisor, mmeganathan@ippf.org

banner photo
story

| 08 December 2023

Behind Bars, Beyond Boundaries: Addressing SRHR in Indonesia’s Prisons

According to the World Prison Brief's assessment in May 2022, Indonesia holds the 21st highest prison occupancy rate globally, with prisons and correctional institutions operating at a 208% occupancy rate. This statistic positions Indonesia as the fourth most overcrowded nation in Asia in terms of prison population density. Overcrowding in prisons significantly amplifies the challenges those behind bars face and is further exacerbated by the absence of national-level regulations. Among the most vulnerable in these settings are women, girls, and young individuals, particularly those who are pregnant, nursing, or have specific healthcare needs. A lack of comprehensive healthcare services within these facilities leaves significant gaps in providing essential care.  The Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA), an IPPF Member Association (MA), is leading the way in advancing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services for incarcerated individuals across the country. IPPA has established strategic partnerships in more than ten regions, formalised through Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). These collaborations include the IPPA Aceh Chapter, IPPA West Sumatera Chapter, and IPPA Riau Islands Chapter, among others, serving over 3000 clients. These collaborations encompass a broad spectrum of services, including SRH education, HIV and STI testing, counselling, and ensuring access to affordable sanitary products and mental health support. IPPA also strongly emphasises providing contraceptive services, specialised counselling facilities, cancer screenings, and prenatal care. Through the RESPOND project, IPPA is dedicated to addressing the immediate SRH needs of incarcerated individuals while striving to establish a comprehensive framework that promotes their overall health and well-being. Eko Maryadi, Executive Director of IPPA, highlights that with the generous support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Australia, reproductive health services have been expanded across 25 IPPA chapters. “Our collaboration with the Department of Corrections and local health agencies is focused on addressing the urgent SRH needs of marginalised communities, particularly women and young people in incarcerated settings. By bridging the gaps in the national SRHR landscape, we prioritise underserved groups and ensure they receive the essential health services they deserve,” he said.  Egy, who actively participated in an awareness session organised by IPPA at a Kalimantan Prison, shared her experience. “The cancer screening awareness session was eye-opening for me. It made me realise the importance of regular health check-ups. Getting my first pap smear highlighted how crucial it is for us in prison to access essential healthcare services. It's an integral part of our overall well-being." Rita, who received medical care at a Jakarta prison, shared similar sentiments. "I used to dismiss my symptoms as minor discomfort. However, the information I received during an awareness session with the friendly IPPA medical team made me rethink this. It led to the discovery of uterine fibroids, and I promptly received treatment. Many of us lack information about our health. Focusing on education and raising awareness, particularly about conditions that often go unnoticed, can be life-changing," she said. In a nation where the total prison population exceeds 270,000, the urgency of addressing the dire state of SRHR within Indonesia's overcrowded prisons cannot be overstated. Incarcerated individuals often fall through the cracks of the national healthcare system, making IPPA's services more crucial than ever. For more information, contact:  Malarvili Meganathan,  Regional Communications, Voice & Media Advisor, mmeganathan@ippf.org

a group photo
story

| 30 November 2023

Advancing LGBTQ+ Inclusion through Clinical Services in Cambodia

In the bustling province of Battambang, Cambodia, the LGBTQ+ community encounters significant barriers, including enduring stigma, discrimination, and a lack of sensitivity and understanding among healthcare providers when accessing clinical services for their sexual and reproductive health needs. Additionally, transgender individuals face numerous legal and social discriminations due to the absence of explicit legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) within the employment, health, and education sectors. Navigating the healthcare system has left many within the community with fears and reluctance to seek care, leading to a decline in their overall well-being. Recognising the need to bridge the healthcare gap and build trust within the LGBTQ+ community over time, the Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia (RHAC), an IPPF Member Association, rises to the challenges. Under the RESPOND project, RHAC takes a proactive stance in dismantling stigma and improving access to clinical services for the LGBTQ+ community, especially transgender individuals in Battambang. Their multi-faceted approach encompasses education, advocacy, counselling, and specialised care. 

a group photo
story

| 01 December 2023

Advancing LGBTQ+ Inclusion through Clinical Services in Cambodia

In the bustling province of Battambang, Cambodia, the LGBTQ+ community encounters significant barriers, including enduring stigma, discrimination, and a lack of sensitivity and understanding among healthcare providers when accessing clinical services for their sexual and reproductive health needs. Additionally, transgender individuals face numerous legal and social discriminations due to the absence of explicit legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) within the employment, health, and education sectors. Navigating the healthcare system has left many within the community with fears and reluctance to seek care, leading to a decline in their overall well-being. Recognising the need to bridge the healthcare gap and build trust within the LGBTQ+ community over time, the Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia (RHAC), an IPPF Member Association, rises to the challenges. Under the RESPOND project, RHAC takes a proactive stance in dismantling stigma and improving access to clinical services for the LGBTQ+ community, especially transgender individuals in Battambang. Their multi-faceted approach encompasses education, advocacy, counselling, and specialised care. 

a photo of the RAJAH community centre outreach team
story

| 29 November 2023

Championing Change: A Community-Led Approach to HIV Services in the Philippines

Located in the bustling heart of Iloilo City is the RAJAH Community Centre, a dynamic hub with a meaningful mission. RAJAH stands for "Raising Awareness for Junior Advocates on HIV." Established in 2019 by the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), this centre provides a safe space for HIV testing and support services, free from stigma.  The centre provides counselling and a range of supportive initiatives tailored to its diverse community. What sets this centre apart from other HIV diagnostic and treatment facilities is its unique operational model, primarily driven by volunteers. Many of these volunteers are part of the LGBTIQ+ communities they serve.  Mona Liza S. Diones, the Chapter Program Manager of FPOP Iloilo, noted that a significant number of potential clients still hesitate due to fears associated with visiting a treatment facility. “At RAJAH, we're working to change this perception by providing essential services that promote comfort and eliminate prejudice.”  The centre is a crucial service point that complements existing facilities run by local government units. In partnership with the Department of Health, it provides continuous HIV services, including telemedicine, mobile clinics, and the distribution of essential items such as PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) and condoms. PrEP is an oral pill that reduces the risk of contracting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken correctly. Onsite HIV testing is available for individuals aged 15 and above, following the guidelines of the HIV and AIDS Policy Act in the Philippines, which allows those between 15 to 18 to access testing without parental or guardian consent.  As of January 2023, the Philippines recorded 110,736 cases of HIV. The number of people with HIV is projected to rise by 200%, from 158,400 in 2022 to 364,000 by 2030. 

a photo of the RAJAH community centre outreach team
story

| 30 November 2023

Championing Change: A Community-Led Approach to HIV Services in the Philippines

Located in the bustling heart of Iloilo City is the RAJAH Community Centre, a dynamic hub with a meaningful mission. RAJAH stands for "Raising Awareness for Junior Advocates on HIV." Established in 2019 by the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), this centre provides a safe space for HIV testing and support services, free from stigma.  The centre provides counselling and a range of supportive initiatives tailored to its diverse community. What sets this centre apart from other HIV diagnostic and treatment facilities is its unique operational model, primarily driven by volunteers. Many of these volunteers are part of the LGBTIQ+ communities they serve.  Mona Liza S. Diones, the Chapter Program Manager of FPOP Iloilo, noted that a significant number of potential clients still hesitate due to fears associated with visiting a treatment facility. “At RAJAH, we're working to change this perception by providing essential services that promote comfort and eliminate prejudice.”  The centre is a crucial service point that complements existing facilities run by local government units. In partnership with the Department of Health, it provides continuous HIV services, including telemedicine, mobile clinics, and the distribution of essential items such as PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) and condoms. PrEP is an oral pill that reduces the risk of contracting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken correctly. Onsite HIV testing is available for individuals aged 15 and above, following the guidelines of the HIV and AIDS Policy Act in the Philippines, which allows those between 15 to 18 to access testing without parental or guardian consent.  As of January 2023, the Philippines recorded 110,736 cases of HIV. The number of people with HIV is projected to rise by 200%, from 158,400 in 2022 to 364,000 by 2030. 

photo of the map
story

| 16 November 2023

Strengthening Rights, Equitable Access, and Transparency: The Contraceptive Policy Atlas Launch Calls for Action in Asia-Pacific

In a significant development towards improving access to contraception and advancing reproductive rights in the Asia-Pacific region, the Contraceptive Policy Atlas for Asia and the Pacific Region 2023 was officially launched at a side event during the 7th Asian and Pacific Population Conference (APPC) in Bangkok, Thailand.  The event was organised by the International Planned Parenthood Federation – East and South East Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF ESEAOR) in partnership with the FP 2030 Asia Pacific Hub and the European Parliamentary Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF).  Civil society organisations, youth leaders, development partners, private institutions, and government representatives came together with a shared mission: to drive change by discussing current policies, identifying gaps, and enhancing data collection for contraceptive programs and access in the region.

photo of the map
story

| 16 November 2023

Strengthening Rights, Equitable Access, and Transparency: The Contraceptive Policy Atlas Launch Calls for Action in Asia-Pacific

In a significant development towards improving access to contraception and advancing reproductive rights in the Asia-Pacific region, the Contraceptive Policy Atlas for Asia and the Pacific Region 2023 was officially launched at a side event during the 7th Asian and Pacific Population Conference (APPC) in Bangkok, Thailand.  The event was organised by the International Planned Parenthood Federation – East and South East Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF ESEAOR) in partnership with the FP 2030 Asia Pacific Hub and the European Parliamentary Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF).  Civil society organisations, youth leaders, development partners, private institutions, and government representatives came together with a shared mission: to drive change by discussing current policies, identifying gaps, and enhancing data collection for contraceptive programs and access in the region.

group photo
story

| 20 October 2023

Regional Policy Dialogue Convenes over 100 Delegates to Address Unintended Pregnancies in Southeast Asia

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), in partnership with UNFPA, UNICEF, PLAN International, and Organon, convened a pivotal Regional Policy Dialogue on Unintended Pregnancies in Southeast Asia. This two-day event, held in Bali, Indonesia, from October 19-20, brought together over 100 key stakeholders, including youth leaders, youth networks, government representatives, development partners and private institutions. The discussions during the two-day event were multifaceted, encompassing topics such as analysing data and trends related to unintended pregnancy among adolescents in Southeast Asia, exploring evidence-based approaches to tackle this challenge, and evaluating existing policies while identifying gaps and opportunities. All of this was done through a youth-oriented and intergenerational lens. The event aimed to foster collaboration, partnerships, and greater accountability among stakeholders to collectively address adolescent pregnancy, recognising the importance of a unified effort in ensuring the well-being of young individuals in the region. Tomoko Fukuda, Regional Director, IPPF East, Southeast Asia and Oceania Region (ESEAOR), emphasised unwavering commitment to addressing the sexual and reproductive health challenges young people face in the region. She stated, "Our focus goes beyond mere statistics; it's about ensuring every girl has the choice, the right, and the support she needs. Unintended pregnancies are a stark reminder of broader systemic gaps, and we are dedicated to addressing them. Anjali Sen, Country Representative, UNFPA Indonesia, said, “Adolescent pregnancy is a global concern, but its impact is profoundly felt in Southeast Asia. It is a challenge that affects not only the health and well-being of young girls but also the socio-economic development of our nations.”   Adolescent pregnancy, particularly adolescent girls, significantly affects young individuals' health and well-being. It often leads to reduced educational opportunities and limited employment and economic advancement prospects. This perpetuates cycles of disadvantage, inequality, poverty, and adverse health outcomes that impact young girls, their families, and their communities. 

group photo
story

| 20 October 2023

Regional Policy Dialogue Convenes over 100 Delegates to Address Unintended Pregnancies in Southeast Asia

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), in partnership with UNFPA, UNICEF, PLAN International, and Organon, convened a pivotal Regional Policy Dialogue on Unintended Pregnancies in Southeast Asia. This two-day event, held in Bali, Indonesia, from October 19-20, brought together over 100 key stakeholders, including youth leaders, youth networks, government representatives, development partners and private institutions. The discussions during the two-day event were multifaceted, encompassing topics such as analysing data and trends related to unintended pregnancy among adolescents in Southeast Asia, exploring evidence-based approaches to tackle this challenge, and evaluating existing policies while identifying gaps and opportunities. All of this was done through a youth-oriented and intergenerational lens. The event aimed to foster collaboration, partnerships, and greater accountability among stakeholders to collectively address adolescent pregnancy, recognising the importance of a unified effort in ensuring the well-being of young individuals in the region. Tomoko Fukuda, Regional Director, IPPF East, Southeast Asia and Oceania Region (ESEAOR), emphasised unwavering commitment to addressing the sexual and reproductive health challenges young people face in the region. She stated, "Our focus goes beyond mere statistics; it's about ensuring every girl has the choice, the right, and the support she needs. Unintended pregnancies are a stark reminder of broader systemic gaps, and we are dedicated to addressing them. Anjali Sen, Country Representative, UNFPA Indonesia, said, “Adolescent pregnancy is a global concern, but its impact is profoundly felt in Southeast Asia. It is a challenge that affects not only the health and well-being of young girls but also the socio-economic development of our nations.”   Adolescent pregnancy, particularly adolescent girls, significantly affects young individuals' health and well-being. It often leads to reduced educational opportunities and limited employment and economic advancement prospects. This perpetuates cycles of disadvantage, inequality, poverty, and adverse health outcomes that impact young girls, their families, and their communities. 

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
story

| 29 January 2024

Frontlines of Progress: Spotlight on Regional Initiatives in Cervical Cancer Elimination

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women globally. About 90% of the 342,000 deaths caused by cervical cancer occurred in low- and middle-income countries. The highest rates of cervical cancer incidence and mortality are in sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, and South-East Asia. Regional differences in the cervical cancer burden are related to inequalities in access to vaccination, screening, and treatment services. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the primary cause of cervical cancer. HPV is mainly transmitted through unprotected sexual contact, including skin-to-skin genital contact. Most HPV infections are self-limiting and can be cleared by the immune system. However, if the infection persists, it may lead to precancerous cervical lesions or even cervical cancer. For individuals with weakened immune systems, such as those with poorly controlled HIV infection, the risk of developing cervical cancer is significantly higher. A comprehensive report on the progress of cervical cancer elimination in the region, released by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Health Working Group, reveals that APEC economies account for approximately 38% of new cases and 35% of global deaths. Data from the report indicate that most APEC economies are furthest along in meeting targets for cervical cancer treatment. The report builds on the 2021 roadmap, which sets policy targets for member economies to bolster health capacity and enable women and girls to lead healthy and productive lives. While a majority of the countries have adopted strategies for the elimination of cervical cancer, ranging from comprehensive programs to specific interventions within broader cancer strategies, there are still notable gaps in implementation. This recognises the need for multistakeholder collaborations, in line with the World Health Organization’s global strategy for cancer elimination. Contributing towards eliminating cervical cancer is a core part of IPPF’s mandate. IPPF adopted a Cervical Cancer Strategy 2020–2024 to ensure women, girls, and affected populations can access cervical cancer information and services, strengthen health equity, address stigma, and challenge harmful social/gender norms that create barriers to accessing timely and high-quality services. Our Member Associations in the ESEAOR region are dedicated to preventing, treating, and eliminating cervical cancer. Here, we highlight the incredible work of some of our Member Associations:  

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
story

| 11 April 2024

Frontlines of Progress: Spotlight on Regional Initiatives in Cervical Cancer Elimination

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women globally. About 90% of the 342,000 deaths caused by cervical cancer occurred in low- and middle-income countries. The highest rates of cervical cancer incidence and mortality are in sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, and South-East Asia. Regional differences in the cervical cancer burden are related to inequalities in access to vaccination, screening, and treatment services. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the primary cause of cervical cancer. HPV is mainly transmitted through unprotected sexual contact, including skin-to-skin genital contact. Most HPV infections are self-limiting and can be cleared by the immune system. However, if the infection persists, it may lead to precancerous cervical lesions or even cervical cancer. For individuals with weakened immune systems, such as those with poorly controlled HIV infection, the risk of developing cervical cancer is significantly higher. A comprehensive report on the progress of cervical cancer elimination in the region, released by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Health Working Group, reveals that APEC economies account for approximately 38% of new cases and 35% of global deaths. Data from the report indicate that most APEC economies are furthest along in meeting targets for cervical cancer treatment. The report builds on the 2021 roadmap, which sets policy targets for member economies to bolster health capacity and enable women and girls to lead healthy and productive lives. While a majority of the countries have adopted strategies for the elimination of cervical cancer, ranging from comprehensive programs to specific interventions within broader cancer strategies, there are still notable gaps in implementation. This recognises the need for multistakeholder collaborations, in line with the World Health Organization’s global strategy for cancer elimination. Contributing towards eliminating cervical cancer is a core part of IPPF’s mandate. IPPF adopted a Cervical Cancer Strategy 2020–2024 to ensure women, girls, and affected populations can access cervical cancer information and services, strengthen health equity, address stigma, and challenge harmful social/gender norms that create barriers to accessing timely and high-quality services. Our Member Associations in the ESEAOR region are dedicated to preventing, treating, and eliminating cervical cancer. Here, we highlight the incredible work of some of our Member Associations:  

banner photo
story

| 07 December 2023

Behind Bars, Beyond Boundaries: Addressing SRHR in Indonesia’s Prisons

According to the World Prison Brief's assessment in May 2022, Indonesia holds the 21st highest prison occupancy rate globally, with prisons and correctional institutions operating at a 208% occupancy rate. This statistic positions Indonesia as the fourth most overcrowded nation in Asia in terms of prison population density. Overcrowding in prisons significantly amplifies the challenges those behind bars face and is further exacerbated by the absence of national-level regulations. Among the most vulnerable in these settings are women, girls, and young individuals, particularly those who are pregnant, nursing, or have specific healthcare needs. A lack of comprehensive healthcare services within these facilities leaves significant gaps in providing essential care.  The Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA), an IPPF Member Association (MA), is leading the way in advancing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services for incarcerated individuals across the country. IPPA has established strategic partnerships in more than ten regions, formalised through Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). These collaborations include the IPPA Aceh Chapter, IPPA West Sumatera Chapter, and IPPA Riau Islands Chapter, among others, serving over 3000 clients. These collaborations encompass a broad spectrum of services, including SRH education, HIV and STI testing, counselling, and ensuring access to affordable sanitary products and mental health support. IPPA also strongly emphasises providing contraceptive services, specialised counselling facilities, cancer screenings, and prenatal care. Through the RESPOND project, IPPA is dedicated to addressing the immediate SRH needs of incarcerated individuals while striving to establish a comprehensive framework that promotes their overall health and well-being. Eko Maryadi, Executive Director of IPPA, highlights that with the generous support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Australia, reproductive health services have been expanded across 25 IPPA chapters. “Our collaboration with the Department of Corrections and local health agencies is focused on addressing the urgent SRH needs of marginalised communities, particularly women and young people in incarcerated settings. By bridging the gaps in the national SRHR landscape, we prioritise underserved groups and ensure they receive the essential health services they deserve,” he said.  Egy, who actively participated in an awareness session organised by IPPA at a Kalimantan Prison, shared her experience. “The cancer screening awareness session was eye-opening for me. It made me realise the importance of regular health check-ups. Getting my first pap smear highlighted how crucial it is for us in prison to access essential healthcare services. It's an integral part of our overall well-being." Rita, who received medical care at a Jakarta prison, shared similar sentiments. "I used to dismiss my symptoms as minor discomfort. However, the information I received during an awareness session with the friendly IPPA medical team made me rethink this. It led to the discovery of uterine fibroids, and I promptly received treatment. Many of us lack information about our health. Focusing on education and raising awareness, particularly about conditions that often go unnoticed, can be life-changing," she said. In a nation where the total prison population exceeds 270,000, the urgency of addressing the dire state of SRHR within Indonesia's overcrowded prisons cannot be overstated. Incarcerated individuals often fall through the cracks of the national healthcare system, making IPPA's services more crucial than ever. For more information, contact:  Malarvili Meganathan,  Regional Communications, Voice & Media Advisor, mmeganathan@ippf.org

banner photo
story

| 08 December 2023

Behind Bars, Beyond Boundaries: Addressing SRHR in Indonesia’s Prisons

According to the World Prison Brief's assessment in May 2022, Indonesia holds the 21st highest prison occupancy rate globally, with prisons and correctional institutions operating at a 208% occupancy rate. This statistic positions Indonesia as the fourth most overcrowded nation in Asia in terms of prison population density. Overcrowding in prisons significantly amplifies the challenges those behind bars face and is further exacerbated by the absence of national-level regulations. Among the most vulnerable in these settings are women, girls, and young individuals, particularly those who are pregnant, nursing, or have specific healthcare needs. A lack of comprehensive healthcare services within these facilities leaves significant gaps in providing essential care.  The Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA), an IPPF Member Association (MA), is leading the way in advancing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services for incarcerated individuals across the country. IPPA has established strategic partnerships in more than ten regions, formalised through Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). These collaborations include the IPPA Aceh Chapter, IPPA West Sumatera Chapter, and IPPA Riau Islands Chapter, among others, serving over 3000 clients. These collaborations encompass a broad spectrum of services, including SRH education, HIV and STI testing, counselling, and ensuring access to affordable sanitary products and mental health support. IPPA also strongly emphasises providing contraceptive services, specialised counselling facilities, cancer screenings, and prenatal care. Through the RESPOND project, IPPA is dedicated to addressing the immediate SRH needs of incarcerated individuals while striving to establish a comprehensive framework that promotes their overall health and well-being. Eko Maryadi, Executive Director of IPPA, highlights that with the generous support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Australia, reproductive health services have been expanded across 25 IPPA chapters. “Our collaboration with the Department of Corrections and local health agencies is focused on addressing the urgent SRH needs of marginalised communities, particularly women and young people in incarcerated settings. By bridging the gaps in the national SRHR landscape, we prioritise underserved groups and ensure they receive the essential health services they deserve,” he said.  Egy, who actively participated in an awareness session organised by IPPA at a Kalimantan Prison, shared her experience. “The cancer screening awareness session was eye-opening for me. It made me realise the importance of regular health check-ups. Getting my first pap smear highlighted how crucial it is for us in prison to access essential healthcare services. It's an integral part of our overall well-being." Rita, who received medical care at a Jakarta prison, shared similar sentiments. "I used to dismiss my symptoms as minor discomfort. However, the information I received during an awareness session with the friendly IPPA medical team made me rethink this. It led to the discovery of uterine fibroids, and I promptly received treatment. Many of us lack information about our health. Focusing on education and raising awareness, particularly about conditions that often go unnoticed, can be life-changing," she said. In a nation where the total prison population exceeds 270,000, the urgency of addressing the dire state of SRHR within Indonesia's overcrowded prisons cannot be overstated. Incarcerated individuals often fall through the cracks of the national healthcare system, making IPPA's services more crucial than ever. For more information, contact:  Malarvili Meganathan,  Regional Communications, Voice & Media Advisor, mmeganathan@ippf.org

a group photo
story

| 30 November 2023

Advancing LGBTQ+ Inclusion through Clinical Services in Cambodia

In the bustling province of Battambang, Cambodia, the LGBTQ+ community encounters significant barriers, including enduring stigma, discrimination, and a lack of sensitivity and understanding among healthcare providers when accessing clinical services for their sexual and reproductive health needs. Additionally, transgender individuals face numerous legal and social discriminations due to the absence of explicit legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) within the employment, health, and education sectors. Navigating the healthcare system has left many within the community with fears and reluctance to seek care, leading to a decline in their overall well-being. Recognising the need to bridge the healthcare gap and build trust within the LGBTQ+ community over time, the Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia (RHAC), an IPPF Member Association, rises to the challenges. Under the RESPOND project, RHAC takes a proactive stance in dismantling stigma and improving access to clinical services for the LGBTQ+ community, especially transgender individuals in Battambang. Their multi-faceted approach encompasses education, advocacy, counselling, and specialised care. 

a group photo
story

| 01 December 2023

Advancing LGBTQ+ Inclusion through Clinical Services in Cambodia

In the bustling province of Battambang, Cambodia, the LGBTQ+ community encounters significant barriers, including enduring stigma, discrimination, and a lack of sensitivity and understanding among healthcare providers when accessing clinical services for their sexual and reproductive health needs. Additionally, transgender individuals face numerous legal and social discriminations due to the absence of explicit legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) within the employment, health, and education sectors. Navigating the healthcare system has left many within the community with fears and reluctance to seek care, leading to a decline in their overall well-being. Recognising the need to bridge the healthcare gap and build trust within the LGBTQ+ community over time, the Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia (RHAC), an IPPF Member Association, rises to the challenges. Under the RESPOND project, RHAC takes a proactive stance in dismantling stigma and improving access to clinical services for the LGBTQ+ community, especially transgender individuals in Battambang. Their multi-faceted approach encompasses education, advocacy, counselling, and specialised care. 

a photo of the RAJAH community centre outreach team
story

| 29 November 2023

Championing Change: A Community-Led Approach to HIV Services in the Philippines

Located in the bustling heart of Iloilo City is the RAJAH Community Centre, a dynamic hub with a meaningful mission. RAJAH stands for "Raising Awareness for Junior Advocates on HIV." Established in 2019 by the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), this centre provides a safe space for HIV testing and support services, free from stigma.  The centre provides counselling and a range of supportive initiatives tailored to its diverse community. What sets this centre apart from other HIV diagnostic and treatment facilities is its unique operational model, primarily driven by volunteers. Many of these volunteers are part of the LGBTIQ+ communities they serve.  Mona Liza S. Diones, the Chapter Program Manager of FPOP Iloilo, noted that a significant number of potential clients still hesitate due to fears associated with visiting a treatment facility. “At RAJAH, we're working to change this perception by providing essential services that promote comfort and eliminate prejudice.”  The centre is a crucial service point that complements existing facilities run by local government units. In partnership with the Department of Health, it provides continuous HIV services, including telemedicine, mobile clinics, and the distribution of essential items such as PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) and condoms. PrEP is an oral pill that reduces the risk of contracting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken correctly. Onsite HIV testing is available for individuals aged 15 and above, following the guidelines of the HIV and AIDS Policy Act in the Philippines, which allows those between 15 to 18 to access testing without parental or guardian consent.  As of January 2023, the Philippines recorded 110,736 cases of HIV. The number of people with HIV is projected to rise by 200%, from 158,400 in 2022 to 364,000 by 2030. 

a photo of the RAJAH community centre outreach team
story

| 30 November 2023

Championing Change: A Community-Led Approach to HIV Services in the Philippines

Located in the bustling heart of Iloilo City is the RAJAH Community Centre, a dynamic hub with a meaningful mission. RAJAH stands for "Raising Awareness for Junior Advocates on HIV." Established in 2019 by the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), this centre provides a safe space for HIV testing and support services, free from stigma.  The centre provides counselling and a range of supportive initiatives tailored to its diverse community. What sets this centre apart from other HIV diagnostic and treatment facilities is its unique operational model, primarily driven by volunteers. Many of these volunteers are part of the LGBTIQ+ communities they serve.  Mona Liza S. Diones, the Chapter Program Manager of FPOP Iloilo, noted that a significant number of potential clients still hesitate due to fears associated with visiting a treatment facility. “At RAJAH, we're working to change this perception by providing essential services that promote comfort and eliminate prejudice.”  The centre is a crucial service point that complements existing facilities run by local government units. In partnership with the Department of Health, it provides continuous HIV services, including telemedicine, mobile clinics, and the distribution of essential items such as PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) and condoms. PrEP is an oral pill that reduces the risk of contracting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken correctly. Onsite HIV testing is available for individuals aged 15 and above, following the guidelines of the HIV and AIDS Policy Act in the Philippines, which allows those between 15 to 18 to access testing without parental or guardian consent.  As of January 2023, the Philippines recorded 110,736 cases of HIV. The number of people with HIV is projected to rise by 200%, from 158,400 in 2022 to 364,000 by 2030. 

photo of the map
story

| 16 November 2023

Strengthening Rights, Equitable Access, and Transparency: The Contraceptive Policy Atlas Launch Calls for Action in Asia-Pacific

In a significant development towards improving access to contraception and advancing reproductive rights in the Asia-Pacific region, the Contraceptive Policy Atlas for Asia and the Pacific Region 2023 was officially launched at a side event during the 7th Asian and Pacific Population Conference (APPC) in Bangkok, Thailand.  The event was organised by the International Planned Parenthood Federation – East and South East Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF ESEAOR) in partnership with the FP 2030 Asia Pacific Hub and the European Parliamentary Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF).  Civil society organisations, youth leaders, development partners, private institutions, and government representatives came together with a shared mission: to drive change by discussing current policies, identifying gaps, and enhancing data collection for contraceptive programs and access in the region.

photo of the map
story

| 16 November 2023

Strengthening Rights, Equitable Access, and Transparency: The Contraceptive Policy Atlas Launch Calls for Action in Asia-Pacific

In a significant development towards improving access to contraception and advancing reproductive rights in the Asia-Pacific region, the Contraceptive Policy Atlas for Asia and the Pacific Region 2023 was officially launched at a side event during the 7th Asian and Pacific Population Conference (APPC) in Bangkok, Thailand.  The event was organised by the International Planned Parenthood Federation – East and South East Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF ESEAOR) in partnership with the FP 2030 Asia Pacific Hub and the European Parliamentary Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF).  Civil society organisations, youth leaders, development partners, private institutions, and government representatives came together with a shared mission: to drive change by discussing current policies, identifying gaps, and enhancing data collection for contraceptive programs and access in the region.

group photo
story

| 20 October 2023

Regional Policy Dialogue Convenes over 100 Delegates to Address Unintended Pregnancies in Southeast Asia

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), in partnership with UNFPA, UNICEF, PLAN International, and Organon, convened a pivotal Regional Policy Dialogue on Unintended Pregnancies in Southeast Asia. This two-day event, held in Bali, Indonesia, from October 19-20, brought together over 100 key stakeholders, including youth leaders, youth networks, government representatives, development partners and private institutions. The discussions during the two-day event were multifaceted, encompassing topics such as analysing data and trends related to unintended pregnancy among adolescents in Southeast Asia, exploring evidence-based approaches to tackle this challenge, and evaluating existing policies while identifying gaps and opportunities. All of this was done through a youth-oriented and intergenerational lens. The event aimed to foster collaboration, partnerships, and greater accountability among stakeholders to collectively address adolescent pregnancy, recognising the importance of a unified effort in ensuring the well-being of young individuals in the region. Tomoko Fukuda, Regional Director, IPPF East, Southeast Asia and Oceania Region (ESEAOR), emphasised unwavering commitment to addressing the sexual and reproductive health challenges young people face in the region. She stated, "Our focus goes beyond mere statistics; it's about ensuring every girl has the choice, the right, and the support she needs. Unintended pregnancies are a stark reminder of broader systemic gaps, and we are dedicated to addressing them. Anjali Sen, Country Representative, UNFPA Indonesia, said, “Adolescent pregnancy is a global concern, but its impact is profoundly felt in Southeast Asia. It is a challenge that affects not only the health and well-being of young girls but also the socio-economic development of our nations.”   Adolescent pregnancy, particularly adolescent girls, significantly affects young individuals' health and well-being. It often leads to reduced educational opportunities and limited employment and economic advancement prospects. This perpetuates cycles of disadvantage, inequality, poverty, and adverse health outcomes that impact young girls, their families, and their communities. 

group photo
story

| 20 October 2023

Regional Policy Dialogue Convenes over 100 Delegates to Address Unintended Pregnancies in Southeast Asia

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), in partnership with UNFPA, UNICEF, PLAN International, and Organon, convened a pivotal Regional Policy Dialogue on Unintended Pregnancies in Southeast Asia. This two-day event, held in Bali, Indonesia, from October 19-20, brought together over 100 key stakeholders, including youth leaders, youth networks, government representatives, development partners and private institutions. The discussions during the two-day event were multifaceted, encompassing topics such as analysing data and trends related to unintended pregnancy among adolescents in Southeast Asia, exploring evidence-based approaches to tackle this challenge, and evaluating existing policies while identifying gaps and opportunities. All of this was done through a youth-oriented and intergenerational lens. The event aimed to foster collaboration, partnerships, and greater accountability among stakeholders to collectively address adolescent pregnancy, recognising the importance of a unified effort in ensuring the well-being of young individuals in the region. Tomoko Fukuda, Regional Director, IPPF East, Southeast Asia and Oceania Region (ESEAOR), emphasised unwavering commitment to addressing the sexual and reproductive health challenges young people face in the region. She stated, "Our focus goes beyond mere statistics; it's about ensuring every girl has the choice, the right, and the support she needs. Unintended pregnancies are a stark reminder of broader systemic gaps, and we are dedicated to addressing them. Anjali Sen, Country Representative, UNFPA Indonesia, said, “Adolescent pregnancy is a global concern, but its impact is profoundly felt in Southeast Asia. It is a challenge that affects not only the health and well-being of young girls but also the socio-economic development of our nations.”   Adolescent pregnancy, particularly adolescent girls, significantly affects young individuals' health and well-being. It often leads to reduced educational opportunities and limited employment and economic advancement prospects. This perpetuates cycles of disadvantage, inequality, poverty, and adverse health outcomes that impact young girls, their families, and their communities.