This week I toured a local Chadian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that focused on women's health and family issues. This organization was supported by Planned Parenthood International but also received donations from the UN and other international organizations. The NGO provided HIV/AIDS testing and counseling as well as testing for other diseases like syphilis and hepatitis in a small lab in the building. The cost of a pregnancy test was 3,000 CFA or approximately $6. The building was powered by two generators out front that enabled the lab to keep medicine and other critical items cold.
On the day I walked through there were nearly 100 women sitting on benches in the waiting area and more sitting outside under the the tall palm trees. One of the services provided at this NGO is birth control and contraception assistance. Condoms and Norplant were available. The staff and clients were all nice and hospitable although I am sure many of the clients were wondering what I was doing in the building.
Funding is always an issue for an NGO like this and it is becoming a greater challenge to sustain operations as NGOs receive less funding from donors and governments. Cost of services to the locals is critical as people earn very little here. As funding for this NGO decreases the cost of testing and other fees for services will most likely increase. The pregnancy test at 3,000 CFA was the most expensive test they offered, but prices could skyrocket or services become unavailable if they do not have the funds to pay the salary of the lab technician.