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At Pfizer, we believe that empowered women help build stronger communities. Fundamental to this belief is ensuring access to resources that allow women to make decisions about the health of themselves and their families.

International Women’s Day is an ideal moment to reflect on how the Healthy Families, Healthy Futures grants program – ?a partnership between the Pfizer Foundation,* CARE, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children and World Vision – helps to achieve a more gender-balanced world. Launched in 2015 in five African countries, this program provides information and services to promote healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies (HTSP) at the same time children are routinely vaccinated. Through this integrated approach to service delivery, the program is helping to reduce barriers and improve access to care for women, while maximizing health system efficiencies in areas with limited resources.

Last year, we introduced our online community to Susan, a mother of five children in rural West Pokot, Kenya and recipient of these integrated services, through an immersive 360-degree film created in partnership with World Vision. Through the film, Susan shares her story of how the program has impacted her life as we watch her become an advocate for her health and the health of her children.

Now nearly one year later, we recently checked in with Susan and a member of her healthcare team, Lydia, on the progress that has been made.

Lydia shared, “Susan talks to other women about what birth spacing means to her and how it has given her more time to take care of her children. Through this, other women are now requesting for family planning counseling.”

“The project has really empowered the community with knowledge and demystified common myths. Now, many understand the benefits of birth spacing, including men and youths.”

Furthermore, Susan’s family has continued to see the impact of the program firsthand. Gilbert, her youngest, recently received his nine-month measles immunization, and her daughter now has options for HTSP that allow her to pursue an education today and raise a family later, when she chooses.

“I am happy to be on a longer-term method of family planning, so I can now care for my children and help my husband,” said Susan. “My children are doing well and are in school, and I now have a great vision for my daughter to get the best education and be an important person one day!”

Overall, the awareness of ideal birth spacing has increased by 52 percent among women and 38 percent among men in West Pokot, leading to greater acceptance and more empowered health decisions.1

Watch Susan’s story below to see firsthand how we’re helping empower women and increase access to important health services, one piece of achieving a more gender-balanced world. ?

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*The Pfizer Foundation is a charitable organization established by Pfizer Inc. It is a separate legal entity from Pfizer Inc. with distinct legal restrictions.

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1. World Vision Kenya (2018). Family planning and immunization integration in West Pokot and Isiolo counties in Kenya: Endline Evaluation Report. Nairobi, Kenya.