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Apr 13, 2018

UNFPA Mobile Reproductive Health Teams Reach Women in Previously Un-reached Area of Aleppo

UNFPA mobile reproductive health teams deployed
UNFPA mobile reproductive health teams deployed

On December 30th, UNFPA became the first UN agency to reach a besieged area of Aleppo. Approximately 65,000 people have been living in Sheikh Maqsoud without access to outside health care. Of these, the majority are women, children, and elderly persons, including 3,000 pregnant women. With humanitarian agencies unable to provide aid during the long siege, many of the women in Sheikh Maqsoud had been without health care for years.

  A single health facility had been operating in Sheikh Maqsoud, with the ability to serve just 50 people a day. UNFPA found the facility overburdened and lacking essential supplies. Reproductive health services were particularly strained. The facility was unable to perform Caesarean sections, leaving many women to carry out unsafe births. And without an ambulance, the facility had no way to transfer patients to outside hospitals.

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. 

 As soon as UNFPA reached the area, they deployed two mobile reproductive health teams. On the first day of their arrival, UNFPA was able to serve more than 80 women. The teams provided antenatal and postpartum care, as well as offering family planning services and other essential care.  

 UNFPA responders also spoke to families about how the conditions of the siege had impacted the lives of women and girls beyond their access to reproductive health care. With a shortage of school supplies and unreliable electricity provided by generators, children faced steep obstacles to their education. In spite of this, one father swore to UNFPA, “I’ll make sure that my daughter will finish her education.” 

 Going forward, UNFPA plans to open three reproductive health centers. These centers will offer services for women ranging from reproductive health care to support for those affected by gender-based violence. In addition, UNFPA has partnered with Syrian Arab Red Crescent to distribute 1,200 dignity kits. With your help, UNFPA can continue to distribute dignity kits, and make sure women and girls are receiving essentials like soap, sanitary napkins, and underwear.  

 A donation of only $25 can provide one woman in a humanitarian crisis such as the Syrian conflict with a dignity kit that provides flashlights and hygiene essentials, ensuring that she is able to maintain her dignity, health, and security in emergency situations. 

Jan 16, 2018

Safe spaces for Rohingya refugee women

Female volunteers inform women about safe spaces
Female volunteers inform women about safe spaces

Right now, the border shared by Myanmar and Bangladesh is the site of one of the fastest growing refugee populations in the world. Cox’s Bazaar has experienced an influx of over 620,000 refugees in the past three months. The region now hosts one of the world’s densest concentrations of refugees, more than half of which are women and girls. With this overcrowding also come added threats to women and girls.

Women and girls typically become more vulnerable to gender-based violence and sexual assault when displaced by a crisis. Recent reports have confirmed that sexual violence against women and girls is widespread in Cox’s Bazaar. Many women arrived there having already survived brutal sexual assaults.

Some of the most dangerous situations for women occur when they set out to complete daily tasks essential to the survival of themselves and their families. When women walk throughout the camps to collect firewood or use the bathroom, they can find both themselves and their children in a vulnerable situation.

UNFPA is on the ground, providing women with flashlights and lanterns to light the way at night. Volunteers are also creating safe spaces for women and setting up community watch programs, proving that giving women and girls the supplies they need changes and saves lives. 

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

Many women arrive in desperate need of maternal and reproductive health care. Pregnant women and new mothers are particularly in need of safe spaces and health services. Sabekun,  who is 25 weeks pregnant was able to see a UNFPA midwife and share her worries about her baby’s health after she walked for 7 days to flee violence at home. The midwife was able to assure Sabekun that her baby was safe, and helped direct her to a safe place to rest after her exhausting journey.

Women who have already given birth in harsh conditions are also welcomed in UNFPA safe spaces to recover and share their stories and advice with other women. Female volunteers in the community have emerged as trusted keepers of these safe spaces, which many women are calling "shanti ghar" or "safe haven." While here, women can access medical care and counselling referrals. However, sometimes women give birth before they are able to reach a safe space or reproductive health center- and UNFPA is addressing this, as well. 

Merula gave birth a month ago with the help of her mother in a makeshift tent, aided only by her mother. UNFPA created birthing kits to make sure women having emergency births can have access to clean care and necessary items, and help women like Merula have as safe a birth as possible in times of crisis.

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. 

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Oct 24, 2017

Providing Critical Care to Rohingya Women & Girls

UNFPA distributing dignity kits to women and girls
UNFPA distributing dignity kits to women and girls

900,000 Rohingya refugees have fled ethnic violence in Myanmar into neighboring Bangladesh. Of the 900,000 displaced, 600,000 have left since the end of August when the conflict seriously escalated. More than half of the refugees are women and girls, who have lost access to critical reproductive health care. Having already survived the violence in Myanmar, their arrival at camps in Bangladesh exposes them to an increased risk for the potential of sexual abuse and gender-based violence.  

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees urgently need shelter. However, those who do live in shelters often reckon with overcrowding and a lack of privacy. These issues are exacerbated for women and girls, who face the additional threat of violence when traveling within the camps to restrooms or elsewhere. Of 10,000 new arrivals in Cox’s Bazar, one of the largest camps in Bangladesh, 900 women and girls have reported gendered violence. It is likely many more have not reported their experiences for fear of stigma.

Women and girls are more vulnerable to sexual assault in times of crisis.

UNFPA has created nine women-friendly spaces in Cox’s Bazar that provide both protection and care specifically for women. Shakila* arrived in a UNFPA women-friendly space after surviving sexual assault and witnessing the murder of both her husband and baby daughter. She received urgent medical care from health personnel trained by UNFPA, and will be able to access counseling that UNFPA helps provide to survivors of trauma. Another woman who was receiving counseling there after she had suffered similar unimaginable horrors described the space as “a place to talk about my suffering on this journey – a place  of peace for women like us.”   

UNFPA also has 34 midwives stationed in Cox’s Bazar, many of whom are also trained in a clinical response to rape and gender-based violence.  UNFPA has already distributed over 6,000 dignity kits to women in Cox’s Bazar, which include items ranging from sanitary napkins to flashlights to light the way at night. When women arrive with virtually nothing, delivery kits provide a lifeline.  

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

UNFPA is also supporting health centers and mobile clinics in Bangladesh, and has provided health screenings for 60,000 new arrivals. In addition, UNFPA has provided antenatal care to around 12,000 pregnant women, postnatal care to 1,000 women, and assisted with the birth of around 300 babies in the camps. Maintaining safe pregnancies and childbirths remains a priority, and UNFPA is distributing thousands of clean delivery kits with essential supplies for safe birth and post-natal care.  

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. 

 

*Names changed for protection reasons 

UNFPA Bangladesh/Naymuzzaman Prince
UNFPA Bangladesh/Naymuzzaman Prince
Camps are overcrowded and lacking privacy.
Camps are overcrowded and lacking privacy.
UNFPA Bangladesh/Naymuzzaman Prince
UNFPA Bangladesh/Naymuzzaman Prince

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