When Rosa joined Pro Mujer 10 years ago, she was working as a housekeeper and earning $30 a month. With a small loan and business training from Pro Mujer, she was able to invest in her new business selling cakes and grow her income to about $260 a month. But she suffered a major setback when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer following a Pap test received at one of Pro Mujer’s health campaigns.
The obstacles women like Rosa encounter in Peru’s informal sector are all too common. They struggle to improve their lives and those of their family members, but often have no financial safety net and little to no access to capital, training or health care. Minor setbacks, especially those that are health-related, can become catastrophic. Chronic diseases such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes, sexual and reproductive health issues, and breast and cervical cancers, cause more than 68% of the deaths in Latin America and they disproportionally impact low-income women (WHO, 2016).
To support women like Rosa, Pro Mujer today announced a renewed collaboration to tackle these diseases. Thanks to GSK’s financial support, we will expand our health care coverage (primary medical care, diagnostics and dental care) to 45,000 women over the next three years. Pro Mujer will deliver these services through our 34 centers, 30 health clinics and four mobile health units across the country (Pro Mujer, 2015).
In making the announcement, Marco Mollinedo, Pro Mujer’s Country Director said, “There is no greater return on investment than the empowerment of women. A woman who is healthy and financially independent enjoys a greater sense of agency, and her children are more likely to thrive. Multiply this by thousands of families and the positive effects for entire communities become limitless. But there are a number of complex and deeply rooted barriers that stand in their way. Breaking them down requires the development of sustainable solutions through strong private-public sector partnerships, and for the past seven years, our relationship with GSK has been an example of that. The results have been greater opportunities for the hardworking women we serve, and we are grateful for their support.”
Abraham Quesada, GSK Peru General Manager added, “Pro Mujer has long been known as a microfinance pioneer for its integrated, gender focused approach. They go beyond providing a loan: they provide women with the tools they need to transform multiple facets of their lives. We are thrilled to be part of the huge work Pro Mujer is doing to help women in our country achieve a better quality of life for themselves and their families. It has been particularly inspiring to witness Pro Mujer continue to develop new and bolder strategies to respond to the needs of their clients, often in very challenging environments. We are proud to support them during all these years so more women can lead longer, healthier and more fulfilled lives.”
The initiative will help us strengthen and expand five key components:
1. Allow for greater access to critical clinical services.
GSK’s support has enabled Pro Mujer Peru to increase the number of chronic disease screenings from 59,650 in 2011 to 131,242 in 2014 – an increase of 120%.
2. Launch four new health spaces that promote the adoption of healthy behaviors.
3. Standardize clinic operations to guarantee quality of care.
This will allow us to evaluate and improve performance, and standardize all of its clinical processes in order to ensure high-quality care.
4. Advance innovative approaches to health education and behavior change.
Tablet-based education and training tools for its clients and staff will be expanded, and Pro Mujer will launch social marketing campaigns aimed at helping clients make healthier choices.
5. Provide Pro Mujer with the resources it needs to better understand its work.
Since the partnership began in 2009, Pro Mujer has received nearly $1.2 million dollars in grants, in-kind donations and technical expertise from GSK across its six countries of operations.
For more blog posts on GSK and Pro Mujer’s work together, please click here.