Beyond the Pill has trained more than 400 physicians and clinic staff in Puerto Rico with our evidence-based training program.

August 29th, 2016
Image of training participants at a Beyond the Pill training in Puerto Rico.

Beyond the Pill has joined the Zika Contraception Access Network (Z-CAN), a CDC Foundation initiative launched last week to address the Zika public health emergency in Puerto Rico. Partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC Foundation and health care providers in Puerto Rico, Beyond the Pill is delivering evidence-based training for physicians and clinic staff to help them offer the full range of contraceptive methods to women.

Access to contraception is critical for preventing unintended pregnancy, and this need has escalated as the Zika virus has traveled through Latin America and the Caribbean to Puerto Rico causing severe birth defects, including microcephaly. The most recent figures from mid-August show that over 1,000 pregnant women in Puerto Rico have tested positive for Zika. Locally-acquired cases of Zika have also been reported in Florida and the virus is expected to spread to other Gulf states.

A key strategy to reducing the impact of Zika is to help prevent unintended pregnancy through family planning services. Almost two-thirds of pregnancies in Puerto Rico (65%) are unintended. To increase contraceptive access during the Zika epidemic, Z-CAN provides women with a full range of contraceptive methods at no cost on the same day as their health care service.

Beyond the Pill is working with the CDC, Puerto Rico Obstetrics & Gynecology (PROGyn), a local professional organization, and the Family Planning Fellowship to provide our contraceptive training program as part of Z-CAN. In the past two months, Beyond the Pill has trained more than 400 physicians and clinic staff from a variety of health settings in Puerto Rico, including community health clinics, private practices, and universities.

Beyond the Pill aims to increase access to contraception and promote women’s reproductive autonomy. Our evidence-based, CME-accredited training equips providers with the knowledge and skills to offer the full range of contraceptive methods, including IUDs and implants. It is the only contraceptive intervention proven to reduce unintended pregnancy with evidence from a randomized trial. We have trained more than 3,000 providers across the US and are working in Southern states to help address the growing Zika threat.

For more information on Zika and prevention efforts, visit the CDC website. To support these training efforts, donations can be made to the CDC Foundation and Beyond the Pill.