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Birth Control and Violence Are Brazilian Women’s Main Concerns

There are two "relevant matters" to be dealt with in the area of female health in Brazil: domestic violence and access to birth control devices.

This is the opinion of Zuleica Albuquerque, national adviser to the Family and Food and Nutritional Security Unit of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).

She is participating in the National Seminar on Social Control of Women’s Health Policies, which began Tuesday, March 14, and will end Thursday, March 16, in Brasí­lia.

She points out that women’s health has advanced in many areas in Brazil. "Years ago women had no access to contraceptives for family planning or programs to deal with problems of infertility," she said.

In her view, what is needed is to increase the availability of contraceptives, "especially for poorer women in more remote areas," she points out. When it comes to violence, she affirms that "much remains to be done, but there is a great awareness of the problem."

She says that what Brazil needs first "is to encourage women to declare they are being abused. This is a serious matter. They hide it for psychological reasons, for fear of ending up alone or losing their companion."

The second step, in her opinion, is to train health professionals to help these victims. "A lot of care is necessary to handle this. It is a matter involving sentiments, and health workers often lack this ability."

Albuquerque went on to say that "Brazil has a long tradition of struggles on behalf of women, while other countries, especially in Central America, are still way behind."

Agência Brasil

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