Nov 1, 2016

Safe Birth During Hurricane Matthew

Marie delivered 6 babies the night of theHurricane
Marie delivered 6 babies the night of theHurricane

Nurse Marie-Lyrette was the only midwife on duty in the maternity unity of St. Antoine Hospital in Jeremie, Haiti when Hurricane Matthew struck. 

That night, Nurse Marie-Lyrette safely delivered six babies by flashlight. “I tried to reassure them,” she said, even as she was wracked with fear herself. Still, she said, “I had to stay in the hospital to work. My professional conscience wouldn’t have let me leave. I couldn’t have left the women there to die.”Fortunately, she reported that her maternity unit saw no deaths on that perilous evening, but not all maternal units were so lucky.

 23 out of 26 health facilities in Grand’Anse and Nippes counties were affected by the storm, including Nurse Marie-Lyrette’s facility. Of the 11 facilities in Grand'Anse alone, two were completely destroyed, two were closed, none have power or water, and all require health workers. 

 Currently, Haiti has the highest maternal mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere, and as a result of this recent disaster, the rate of maternal mortality is at risk of becoming even worse. Women and girls in Haiti now face a lack of access to proper health care, they risk increased exposure to gender based violence (GBV) and diseases such as cholera and Zika. To address these problems, UNFPA has begun distributing clean delivery kits to the most affected areas to ensure that women and girls have access to care and that this rate of maternal mortality does not increase.

 UNFPA’s clean delivery kits contain basic items necessary for a safe birth, including sterile gloves, a blanket, a plastic sheet, and soap. For only $11 you can help UNFPA provide 3 emergency clean delivery kits to women without access to maternal health services.

 The health workers who remain face challenging times ahead. Among the population affected by the hurricane, there are more than 546,000 women and girls of reproductive age, who will all need quality health care. In the affected areas, more than 13,650 pregnant women are set to give birth in the next three months. 

A donation of only $25 can provide one woman in a humanitarian setting such as the Haiti with a dignity kit that provides hygiene essentials for six months, ensuring that she is able to maintain her dignity and health in emergency situations.

 “Our urgent task is to protect the health and rights of women and girls, and to ensure that their basic needs, which are often overlooked in humanitarian situations, are quickly met,” said UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin.

Aug 3, 2016

UNFPA Ensures Safe Deliveries for Women Fleeing Conflict in Eastern Ukraine

Elena had to flee from her home in Eastern Ukraine
Elena had to flee from her home in Eastern Ukraine

Two years into the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, parts of the region still experience heavy, often deadly bombardments with mortars and grenades. Fearing for their safety, thousands have fled non-government controlled areas for governmental-controlled cities. Months after the second anniversary of the conflict, bombardments of the region continue and stability has yet to return despite ceasefire.

In her home town of Makiivka, Eastern Ukraine, Elena, 31, found out she was pregnant with her second child. Fearing for their family’s safety and Elena’s ability to access maternity care, Elena and her husband decided to flee. Reaching the government-controlled city of Kramatorsk, Elena met Dr. Astakhov who had also fled his home. Dr. Astakhov’s clinic, supported by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, scheduled a necessary Caesarean-section for her delivery—a procedure she likely would not have had access to in Makiivka—and Elena was able to give birth to a healthy boy.

The unstable situation has caused many pregnant women to risk the journey to government-controlled cites, like Kramatorsk, where they can deliver their babies safely and receive official birth certificates. Yet, the conflict has also caused shortages in staff and medical supplies. Fortunately, UNFPA has provided delivery kits to government-controlled parts of Eastern Ukraine that have been used for over 12,000 normal deliveries and 8,500 complicated deliveries.

UNFPA’s clean delivery kits contain basic items necessary for a safe birth, including sterile gloves, a blanket, a plastic sheet, and soap. For only $15 you can help UNFPA provide 3 emergency clean delivery kits to women without access to maternal health services.

Additionally, UNFPA has delivered 38,000 kits for obstetric-gynecologic check-ups, 2.5 million condoms, 40,000 pregnancy tests and two infant incubators, as well as supporting clinics like Dr. Astakhov’s to help more women free of charge. In January, UNFPA successful arranged the first delivery of supplies to non-government controlled territory and is finding opportunities to bring similar supplies to other regions under non-government control.

UNFPA also provides dignity kits to women in disaster. Dignity kits contain items such as underwear, soap, a comb, and feminine hygiene supplies. For $25 you can provide these essential items to a woman for six months.

Many women travel to deliver in this safe space
Many women travel to deliver in this safe space


Jul 28, 2016

UNFPA Continues Work in Nepal for Women and Girls

Women and girls use Female Friendly Spaces
Women and girls use Female Friendly Spaces

Over a year after two destructive earthquakes hit Nepal, UNFPA continues to address not only the direct consequences of the earthquake, but also the longstanding issues of gender inequality and violence against women.

In the aftermath of the earthquakes, UNFPA and partner organizations established 14 Female Friendly Spaces. These Female Friendly Spaces (FFS) work to provide safety and counseling to women and girls after the disaster and to ensure that girls like 15-year-old Dhana are not subjected to violence.

Three years after Dhana had gone missing when she left home to buy chocolate, she was rescued from the streets by Saathi, a national NGO. Suspecting she had endured sexual abuses, Dhana was referred to a Female Friendly Space that was set up with support from UNFPA.

With psycho-social counseling, dance therapy and recreation activities with support from the FFS, Dhana began to talk and smile again. After about a month in the FFS, Dhana came to village outreach programs where she was reunited with her father in the village of Bethan. Her father, overjoyed, formally committed to bringing his daughter back home as the FFS team facilitated the reunification process.

UNFPA continues to operate 6 of the 14 FFSs. In total, the FFSs have helped over 410,000 Nepalese women recover from the consequences of these devastating earthquakes . In addition to Female Friend Spaces, UNFPA has also  supplied:

  • 132 reproductive health camps that provided services and supplies to over 104,000 people. 

  • 800 birthing facilities that were destroyed during the earthquake were rehabilitated so mothers can give birth safely and receive the post-natal care they need.

  • Over 56,000 Dignity Kits were provided to women and girls in earthquake affected areas. The kits include clothes, sanitary napkins, towels washing materials, and a flashlight.

  • Over 540 winterization packages were distributed to those who survived the earthquake and are still living in tents in just the first quarter of 2016. The packages contain woolen sweaters, warm shawls and blankets for mothers, pregnant women and other vulnerable women. 
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