Fertility and the World Cup in Haiti

Even in the most rural part of Haiti you can hear the sounds of the 2014 World Cup blaring from televisions and radios as most of men in my country stop to tune in to the games and check how their superstars are playing. The Brazilian Neymar and the Argentinian Messi are gods in Haiti.

Women in Haiti — at all times of year — are too consumed with the daily challenges of providing for their families to care much about soccer. Over the last 16 years working in public health I’ve met women at all socio-economic levels of my society. They talk to me about the constant difficulties they face, and mostly about the lack of decision-making power and their own unmet needs and wants.

One of the areas where this lack of power in domestic relationships is reflected most prominently is in Haiti’s fertility rate, which was 3.5 percent in 2012. This is down from 4.8 percent in 1995, but remains one of the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean. And while more Haitian women are gaining access to modern family planning methods – thanks to better distribution systems that allow products to be available in the nearest pharmacies or in health centers- the use of condoms and injectable contraceptives remains the lowest in the Western Hemisphere.

Men are the missing piece in Haiti’s fertility puzzle…

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