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Dilly Severin Director of Communications. Since , reproductive health supplies have been paid for by a tax on alcoholic beverages. Guatemala has one of the highest rates of maternal death in Central America, and a third of women have an unmet need for contraception. Why were advocates so committed to increasing funding for reproductive health supplies? Twenty-one percent of adolescents in Guatemala are pregnant or already have at least one child and 31 percent of married women in Guatemala want to prevent pregnancy, but lack modern contraception.
With so many women in need, reproductive health advocates were not satisfied with their initial victory. More importantly, they stayed on top of things to make sure the money allocated was actually going where it was supposed to. They found that even though the Ministry of Finance was collecting the tax revenues and transferring them to the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Health was not living up to its promise to spend the funds on reproductive health supplies.
Only some of the money was going to contraceptives and other commodities. Armed with this information, they successfully increased Ministry of Health expenditures. The Ministry of Health is now spending 88 percent of the earmarked tax revenues on reproductive health supplies.
And the challenges faced by advocates in Guatemala are not unique. Advocates in Zambia had to be just as dogged in their quest for the creation of a reproductive health supplies budget line. Like their Guatemalan counterparts, they understand that the key to budget advocacy is follow-up, follow-up, and more follow-up.
Commitments are important, but they are not enough. Luckily, with more innovative partnerships between governments and advocacy organizations like we have seen in Guatemala, talk is becoming a lot less cheap. You can help create a future where all women and girls have access to the reproductive health care they need and deserve. Donate today! November 6, Sex, Money and Alcohol in Guatemala. How did that happen? The simple answer is advocacy. Tags: alcohol tax budget advocacy Guatemala.