Marie Stopes International Australia

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LARC in Timor-Leste

When our Timor-Leste team visited a health centre in Letefoho, we met women in their 30s with as many as 13 children with no access to contraception. Filomena was one of these women.

Filomena is 35 years old with eight children aged between three months and 17 years. She and three other women from her village made the journey through steep, mountainous terrain and pouring rain to a government-run health centre where a Marie Stopes midwife provides family planning services each week.

Filomena’s decision to make the journey to the health centre was not a hard one. Filomena delivered all her babies in complete isolation in the family’s small hut. Now that her eldest daughter has left for the city, there is little help in raising her youngest.

After discussing the options with their husbands, the women all agreed that they wanted a long-acting reversible (LARC) option that will give them a decent break from the demands of pregnancy and childbirth.

For Filomena, a contraceptive implant means five years of freedom from an unwanted pregnancy. The reality of a rest from pregnancy, birthing and breastfeeding after more than 17 years was something for Filomena to celebrate.

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