Improving access to critical health services for women factory workers in Vietnam

In Vietnam, garment and shoe manufacturing is a vital sector for skilled employment opportunities. The vast majority of workers in these factories are women.

This partnership aims to improve access to critical health information and services in the workplace. An increased demand for, and access to, high-quality health care amongst female workers will lead to improved health outcomes, promote better employee engagement and retention, and increase overall productivity.

Progress update

January 2018

Since the opening of the BlueStar corner, the Marie Stopes branded on-site clinic for sexual and reproductive health services, attendance by factory workers rose significantly, from 263 visits in June 2017 to 914 in August 2017. The service was enhanced with the addition of a part-time obstetrician-gynaecologist (ob-gyn). Factory staff were informed of the clinic’s services and family planning methods through meetings and information sessions.

Key activities

  • BlueStar corner operations were enhanced with the arrival of an ob-gyn three days per week. The role of the ob-gyn is to oversee the midwives treating and providing reproductive health information to factory workers.
  • A monitoring plan was put in place to collect data and assess the impact on staff absenteeism.
  • Marie Stopes Vietnam staff delivered three days of talks to 799 worker representatives, introducing the BlueStar corner and discussing family planning methods.

July 2017

Following the public launch of the partnership in December 2016, Marie Stopes International (MSI) has commenced recruitment and setting up of the sexual and reproductive health services (BlueStar corner) in the Pou Yuen clinic. The team have undertaken field visits to other Marie Stopes clinics to demonstrate the working model (BlueStar corner) to Pou Yuen clinic staff.

Key activities

  • Formed a local project team with recruitment of two key staff employed to coordinate, monitor and manage activities in the field.
  • Set-up a BlueStar corner in Pou Yuen Clinic. This is an MSI branded social franchise in Pou Yuen Clinic to improve the quality of reproductive health care services available to female workers at Pou Yuen clinic.

Partnership aims

  • Increase demand for and access to high-quality health care amongst female workers to improve health outcomes, promoting better employee engagement and retention, and increase overall productivity
  • Improve the quality, range/scale and accessibility of health services for female workers at the Pou Yuen factory
  • Leverage a multi-partner approach to maximise impact, efficiency, effectiveness and scalability of the model.


Private sector funding


DFAT funding


Total Value



Start date: November 2016

End date: June 2018

Industry sector



The partnership is expected to lead to considerable social and economic returns for both Pou Yuen factory workers and Pou Chen’s business. The initiative will improve access to critical health information and services for its employees, leading to improvements in worker health and well-being, reduced absenteeism, and a more engaged and supported workforce.

Shared value

Shared value is defined as policies and practices that enhance the competitiveness of companies while improving social and environmental conditions in the regions where they operate. It is a business strategy focused on companies creating measurable economic benefit by identifying and addressing social problems that intersect with their business. To qualify as shared value, there must be an identifiable economic benefit to the company as well as measurable impact on a social or environmental issue.

The BPP is helping businesses partner with the Australian aid program in achieving shared value – advancing both social and economic objectives. These partnerships are primarily being created in one or more of the following ways:

  • Reconceiving products and markets
  • Redefining productivity in the value chain
  • Enabling local cluster development

Redefining productivity in the value chain

MSI Vietnamese women review bookletThe Pou Yuen factory in Ho Chi Minh City employs 95,000 workers, at an average age of 29 years and around 85% female. The partnership is an opportunity to better address the specific health needs of this group of employees. The partnership will deliver the following enhancements:

  • Technical assistance provided by MSI to strengthen the provision and quality of health services provided at Pou Yuen factory clinic to better meet the critical health needs of female employees.
  • Extensive awareness raising and engagement activities with female workers to generate demand for and uptake of critical health services.

The outcome of this partnership will not only influence Pou Chen’s broader approach to on-site health service provision but also influence practice across the garment and shoe manufacturing sector more broadly.

Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment

Through increased access to women’s health services at a client-friendly, high quality, revitalised health facility, women will be more empowered and knowledgeable about their health and wellbeing. In turn, their uptake of health services will result in improved health outcomes. The provision of high quality care on site will lead to healthier female employees in the long-term, as well as improving employee wellbeing and productivity.

Partner information

The partnership is between MSI, Pou Chen and DFAT.

Marie Stopes International (MSI)

MSI female clinic staff speaking to woman  

MareStopes International 

Marie Stopes International (MSI) is a results-based social business, specialising in the delivery of reproductive health services in 37 countries worldwide. In Australia, the organisation is a DFAT-accredited, Australian NGO, supporting country programs in the Asia Pacific region with a range of bilateral, multilateral and philanthropic donor funded projects. In Vietnam, MSI offers high quality family planning and reproductive health care in 35 provinces across the country.

Pou Chen

Pou Chen female factory workers in Vietnam  

Pou Chen Group 

Pou Chen Group is a leading global manufacturer of athletic footwear, supplying to more than 60 brands including Nike, Adidas and New Balance. In 2014, Pou Chen produced more than 203 million pairs of shoes worldwide. As the local business partner in this partnership, Pou Chen will provide funding to improve access to critical health care for its predominantly female workforce at its Pou Yuen factory. This health care will be provided through the existing health clinic at the factory, including its medical staff, medical equipment and supplies.

Last Updated: 30 January 2018