Hundreds of women die every year in Peru because they lack access to health services. Huge disparities due to ethnicity, geography and poverty mean that poor, rural and indigenous women suffer the most.
Peru has one of the highest rates of maternal deaths on the South American continent. According to the Ministry of Health, women in rural areas are twice as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as those in urban areas. Maternal mortality among adolescents under 15 is twice as high as in the female adult population.
Unplanned pregnancies are the leading cause of school drop out rates. Two out of five rape victims are girls under the age of 14.
These unplanned pregnancies lead to social isolation for the new mothers who face rejection and discrimination as well as the huge physical and emotional burden of having a child at such a young age.
Centro de Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos (PROMSEX) was established in 2005 by a group of five NGO professionals from feminist organisations in Peru. It aims to promote sexual and reproductive health rights in Peru through advocacy, and works to raise awareness about the need for access to contraception, health services and sexual and reproductive health education.
PROMSEX promotes policies and regulatory frameworks to ensure adolescents are fully able to exercise these rights. It also wants to set in place accountability mechanisms for compliance with policies and standards to ensure sexual and reproductive health, justice and human security.
The organisation works with government bodies and civil society, building their capacity to ensure they are able to implement sexual and reproductive health laws. It also works to bring justice to victims of sexual violence.
It works directly with children in vulnerable communities in the Amazon, particularly on the promotion of sexual and reproductive health services where gender-based violence and sex trafficking are pervasive.
PROMSEX also works on LGBTI rights, and is pushing to invigorate the debate around abortion. In 2015, PROMSEX reached 14,908 children.
Photo: Paco Chuquiure