Friends of UNFPA, Inc

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programs to reduce poverty and to ensure every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect. Friends of UNFPA was established in 1998. It is a non-profit organization, headquartered in New York, that supports the work of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. UNFPA is delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person...
Feb 9, 2016

UNFPA Appeals for Women as Syria War Continues

A mother and her newborn in Syria.
A mother and her newborn in Syria.

After five years of fighting in Syria, UNFPA appealed to world leaders this month to increase global aid to women and girls affected by the conflict. “Protecting the rights of women and young people and putting an end to gender-based violence is everyone’s responsibility,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin at the Syria Donors Conference in London.

For only $11 you can help UNFPA provide 3 emergency clean delivery kits to women without access to maternal health services.

With 13.5 million Syrians impacted by the crisis, 4.1 million are women and girls of reproductive age including 360,000 pregnant women.  “Even in peaceful times, it can be difficult to carry a baby and have a safe delivery. But inside a war zone with air strikes and snipers, on a boat with smugglers, or in a refugee camp, being pregnant is truly daunting,” wrote Dr. Osotimehin recently for Devex.com. “In every emergency, the risks to women and girls increase as access to health services decline.”

UNFPA continues to work in Syria and in the surrounding region to improve access to these services. Thus far, UNFPA has provided reproductive health services for over 130,000 people affected. UNFPA supports 148 women’s health centers and safe spaces in the region. UNFPA-supported facilities provide prenatal and safe-delivery services as well as psychosocial support for victims of gender-based violence.

For expectant mothers out of the reach of these facilities, UNFPA provides clean delivery kits consisting of a bar of soap, a clear plastic sheet, razor blade, an umbilical cord tie, cloth and latex gloves. While these supplies may appear rudimentary, they help prevent infection and can make the difference between life and death for a mother and her baby.

UNFPA also provides dignity kits to women in Syria and the surrounding countries. 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.


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Jan 28, 2016

Supporting victims of violence after Nepal Quake

Women enjoy Female Friendly Spaces
Women enjoy Female Friendly Spaces

In the aftermath of humanitarian disasters, incidents of sexual and gender-based violence increase. To support victims of violence after the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in April 2015, UNFPA sought to establish 13 Female Friendly Spaces. Female Friendly Spaces are an essential resource as gathering places for women, but in many instances they also serve as primary residences.

All 13 of the planned Spaces have been established. Between April and September of 2015 they were used to assist 40,000 women and girls throughout the areas of Nepal most-affected by the earthquake. Specifically, 283 survivors of gender-based violence were treated. UNFPA also trained and mobilized 12 psychosocial counselors, 14 case managers, and 65 psychosocial first aid volunteers.

UNFPA has also worked with district health officials to operate mobile health camps, which provide life-saving healthcare including antenatal and postnatal checkups, safe delivery services, family planning, HIV testing, psychosocial support, and gender-based violence management. UNFPA has operated 121 mobile camps so far, which are open in a particular location for three days at a time. The concept of “Dignity First,” also developed into a public awareness campaign by UNFPA, has served as a cornerstone in all of UNFPA’s post-earthquake recovery work in Nepal. Dignity First reminds the humanitarian community that women and girls require special attention and that their dignity needs to be preserved and respected. UNFPA promoted this campaign and its underlying concept while actively involved in inter-agency and government-led work.

UNFPA sponsored skills sessions
UNFPA sponsored skills sessions

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Dec 17, 2015

UNFPA increase use of maternal services post Ebola

Facility-based childbirth has increased.
Facility-based childbirth has increased.

In West Africa, the Ebola outbreak has overwhelmed health systems and decimated the health care workforce. In Liberia alone, 8 percent of doctors, nurses, and midwives died from the disease by May 2015. In addition to fewer caregivers, the provision of maternal care declined as well, as some remaining professionals turned away pregnant woman at hospitals out of fear they would contract the disease from them. The amount of blood loss during childbirth increases the chances of disease transmission. “No healthcare worker wanted to touch a pregnant woman even with personal protective gear,” said Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, the Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director of Hope for Women International, a UNFPA partner. The rate of pregnant women in Liberia completing at least four prenatal visits during their pregnancies declined from a high of 65 percent in 2013 to only 40 percent by August2014.

The impact of the Ebola crisis and its impact on maternal health care will be felt throughout the region for years to come. According to a recent World Bank report, the loss of health workers in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone may result in an additional 4,022 deaths of women each year from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Maternal mortality could increase by 38 percent in Guinea, 74 percent in Sierra Leone, and 111 percent in Liberia.

To truly recover from the outbreak, pregnant women must now be convinced to return to facility-based and professional health care. UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is working with national and community partners to do this.

In one of the hardest hit areas – Bomi County, Liberia – UNFPA has increased the number of women receiving prenatal care, the number of facility-based deliveries, and the number of women referred or accompanied by traditional birth attendants to health facilities. By working with traditional caregivers, UNFPA has reached within communities to inform women of the importance of receiving professional care throughout their pregnancies and for their childbirths. 

Within a seven month time frame, from December 2014 to June 2015, facility-based deliveries increased in Bomi County to an average of 74 from a baseline of 35 per month.  Over the same period of time, 3,303 pregnant women attended prenatal care visits, an increase of 472 women per month on average.

Throughout the country, UNFPA is encouraging retired midwives to return to the workforce. “With this effort,” said Woseh Gobeh, the national program officer for UNFPA, “health facility-based deliveries have increased from an average of from 6 to 10 monthly to between 30 and 40 monthly in only two months.”

“I give credit to Liberia and the international community for winning against Ebola in a relatively short period of time,” Gobeh continued. But, she added, now, “The most important responsibility and appeal to the government of Liberia, the donor community and all partners is that the need to rebuild the health care delivery system is now greater than ever.”

Woman and children assisted by UNFPA after Ebola
Woman and children assisted by UNFPA after Ebola

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