UNFPA: Clean Birthing Kits in Emergency Situations

 
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Ruqaya is 9 months pregnant living in Domiz camp
Ruqaya is 9 months pregnant living in Domiz camp

Syria is experiencing the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world today. With more than 3 million people, mostly women and children, being forced to seek refuge in neighbouring countries, the need for maternal healthcare is high. Over 400,000 refugees will give birth within the next 9 months and your help is essential to their care.

For only $11 you can provide 3 emergency clean birthing kits consisting of a bar of soap, a clear plastic sheet, razor blade, an umbilical cord tie, cloth and latex gloves to help deliver babies safely in crisis situations.

In the Dominz camp in Duhok Iraq, a UNFPA run maternity sees between 30-35 pregnant women each day. These clinics are a lifeline for many women and babies but additional supplies and trained midwives are always needed. UNFPA understands that in emergencies women’s reproductive health needs are easily overlooked but women and girls are often the most vulnerable during crisis, and having a safe place to give birth is crucial.

Ruqaya, 36, leaves the UNFPA maternity clinic saying: "Despite the hardships and difficulties in making a living, other aspects of life go on normally." She and her four children had to flee their home in Qamishli, Syria and while she could not have imagined having another child, she is in the final stages of her pregnancy. “Life goes on,” she said, “I am in the ninth month of my pregnancy now”. Thanks to UNFPA and your donations, Ruqaya and other women like her are not alone and they are provided with the support and resources required to give birth safely, with fewer worries.

A donation of just $25 can provide one woman, like Ruqaya, with hygiene essentials for six months, ensuring that she is able to maintain her dignity and health in emergency situations.

“Having a maternity clinic in the camp is a relief,” said Natja, a 25 year old refugee but your donations are still needed. Not only does UNFPA provide birthing and hygiene kits, UNFPA also provides emergency obstetric care and psychosocial support that are often forgotten about for those living in crises. Please consider making a kind donation to help save the lives of women refugees from Syria and their babies. 

UNFPA distributes hygiene kits to women in Iraq
UNFPA distributes hygiene kits to women in Iraq
Just $11 provides 3 emergency clean birthing kits
Just $11 provides 3 emergency clean birthing kits

The ongoing conflict in South Sudan means many women in the young country are left without access to reproductive health care, making them especially vulnerable during childbirth. As in every emergency situation, 1 in 5 women are likely to be pregnant and according to estimates by UNFPA, 200,000 women are in need of essential maternal care.

For as little as $11, UNFPA can protect three women and their babies by providing them with clean birthing kits consisting of a bar of soap, a clear plastic sheet, a razor blade, an umbilical cord tie, a cloth and latex gloves to aid the safe delivery of babies in crisis situations.

After escaping from violence, Teresa found herself with no food, water or shelter and a toddler to care for. Her traumatic situation worsened while on her way to a nearby village by boat. Midway through the journey the boat capsized. Unable to swim and 6 months pregnant, Teresa was carried to the shore along with her 2 year old son. When she arrived at a civilian camp she went to a UNFPA supported clinic to ensure her baby was still healthy.

“They gave me medicine, education and appointments. They helped me find a place to live and gave me some food.” UNFPA ensured that Teresa had all the medical attention she required – she needed a cesarean-section due to a back condition she suffered from.

She was fortunate enough to give birth in a UN hospital. Many other women living in similar camps in South Sudan, however, do not have access to these facilities. A donation of $25 will supply a woman with hygiene essentials for six months, enabling her to maintain her dignity even during conflict.

For refugee women living in crisis situations such as those in South Sudan, complications of pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death and disease and for new mothers like Teresa. Basic necessities and family support may be non-existent. Please consider making a generous donation that could save the lives and brighten the futures of women throughout the world.

The Jalozai camp in Pakistan
The Jalozai camp in Pakistan's Nowshera District

As the number of families living in the Jalozai camp in Pakistan increases due to military operations in other parts of the country, conditions are becoming more cramped and even less sanitary. With the number of those displaced reaching 1 million, of which 74% are women and children, over 36,000 births will take place in the oncoming months.

For Kiran Azeem Kahn, 30, a pregnant mother of five who was forced to flee from her home in Miran Shah, the question of how she will give birth safely in a place where health facilities are overwhelmed and medical staff are lacking is a constant worry. “I was extremely worried, as I left with nothing and had no money for hospital charges,” Ms. Khan said.

For just $11, UNFPA can provide Ms. Khan and two other women with clean birthing kits to help deliver their babies safely and with dignity in crisis situations as well as reduce their fear surrounding this precious time. This simple birthing kit could mean the difference between life and death for both mother and child.

Thankfully, due to your kind donations and the support of UNFPA, Ms. Khan was able to deliver her baby daughter Gul, safely in late July at the UNFPA-supported Zanana Women and Children Teaching Hospital in Bannu City. She said, “I am very happy that I was able to deliver in a hospital, and that I was provided clean delivery and newborn baby kits.”

However, for many of the other pregnant displaced women who have had to take shelter with host families or in public buildings, the future of their and their babies’ health is unclear and only with your help can these women have as safe and clean an experience as Ms. Khan. With a donation of only $25, a woman will receive hygiene essentials for six months, ensuring her health remains in prime condition after giving birth.

UNFPA is aware that women in crises are extremely vulnerable during their pregnancies and in childbirth and with your support has distributed hundreds of clean delivery kits, newborn baby kits and dignity kits with personal hygiene items to protect the displaced women in Pakistan’s Nowshera District.

Baby Gul, born at a UNFPA supported hospital
Baby Gul, born at a UNFPA supported hospital
Mother and Child in South Sudan
Mother and Child in South Sudan

Amid escalating conflict, some 30,000 women in South Sudan are at risk of dying in childbirth, according to estimates by UNFPA, and 200,000 pregnant women will be in need of urgent care before the end of the year. In times such as these reproductive health services become unavailable causing pregnancy-related deaths to soar.

UNFPA's clean birthing kits can mean life or death for many women in disaster circumstances. For only $11 you can provide 3 emergency clean birthing kits. The kits include a bar of soap, a clear plastic sheet, razor blade, an umbilical cord tie, cloth, and latex gloves to help deliver babies safely in crisis situations.

Mary, 23, was seven months pregnant when she fled her home with her family after violence broke out between government and opposition forces in mid-December 2013. “We had to run to save our lives because there was too much killing,” she said.

Health systems in the country, which were fragile before the outbreak of violence, are rapidly deteriorating as health professionals flee the country. Fortunately, before she delivered Mary was able to reach a civilian protection camp supplied by UNFPA and staffed by UNFPA-trained midwives. Assisted by trained professionals equipped with the necessary supplies, she gave birth safely. Now her healthy son is a symbol of hope amid ongoing violence.

You can help provide hope to women like her who are currently living amidst conflict in South Sudan. With a contribution of $25 you can supply a woman displaced by disaster with 6 months of reproductive health supplies, enabling her to maintain her dignity.

While UNFPA and its partners have helped to safely deliver 3,500 babies in recent months, needs are escalating rapidly. With the rainy season approaching and large areas of the country likely to be inaccessible due to flooding, the humanitarian response could be undermined.

Only with your support can UNFPA provide the necessary reproductive healthcare for women in South Sudan. Please consider making a generous contribution so that even in tough times women can live with health and dignity. 

Reproductive health kit - South Sudan
Reproductive health kit - South Sudan
Dekoisse and her new baby receive a dignity kit
Dekoisse and her new baby receive a dignity kit

Even as the humanitarian crisis in Central African Republic continues to deteriorate, women are still in need of a safe place to give birth.  Approximately 1 million people have lost their homes and livelihoods due to escalating ethnic and religious violence that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. 

                For just $11, 3 women can be provided with a clean birthing kit to help deliver their babies safely and with dignity in crisis situations. This kit can mean the difference between life and death for both mother and child.

                After experiencing the horror of having her husband shot dead and her home set on fire, 25 year old Dekoisse Charlin ran cradling what mattered to her the most, her son. Along with numerous others fleeing from her destroyed village, she set off on the long, arduous journey to a refugee camp. Dekoisse’s nightmare had not ended, she was also heavily pregnant and unsure of how she would deliver her baby safely when she arrived.

                Luckily for Dekoisse, when the time came to give birth, a clean birthing kit meant survival: “My son and I arrived with no possessions because our house was burnt down. Eleven days later, I delivered a baby boy. My children and I were able to get potable water thanks to the dignity kit provided by UNFPA”.

UNFPA understands that women must still give birth during crises no matter how dangerous or inconvenient the circumstances. To meet the urgent needs of pregnant women and young people affected by the crisis, UNFPA has distributed thousands of dignity kits, clean delivery kits, and other reproductive health and life-saving supplies for women like Dekoisse. These vital necessities will cover the reproductive needs of 450,000 refugees gathered in the capital, Bangui, and six surrounding villages.

                For only $25 a woman can be provided with hygiene essentials for six months, allowing her to maintain her dignity in hazardous situations. Please consider making a contribution so these women can stay healthy whilst caring for their newborn babies.

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Project Leader

Olivia Ryan

NY, NY United States

Where is this project located?

Map of UNFPA: Clean Birthing Kits in Emergency Situations