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Jan 31, 2017

Safe Birth for South Sudanese Refugees

Years of conflict in South Sudan has left more than 5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. Adama Dieng, the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, recently said “there is a strong risk of violence escalating along ethnic lines, with the potential for genocide”.

Leaving the danger in South Sudan along with many others, the Anduga family fled across the Nimbule border to escape from and settle in Maaji, one of the numerous refugee settlements throughout the Adjumani District in Northern Uganda.

Although the Anduga family arrived safely in Uganda, their worries and fears did not disappear. Ms. Anduga fled while pregnant with her third child and was unsure about giving birth in this new environment. Fortunately, Ms. Anduga was approached by a community volunteer and notified about the life-saving services provided by UNFPA to ensure safe births, even in this humanitarian setting.

Both Mr. and Ms. Anduga went to a nearby UNFPA supported health facility for pre-natal care and went back the morning Ms. Anduga went into labor. The midwife on duty made sure that she gave birth to a healthy baby girl with no complications.

Now both Mr. and Ms. Anduga spread the word about UNFPA supported health facilities throughout the refugee settlement to ensure all refugees have access to proper care and safe births.

"I will continue to encourage my fellow men to escort their wives during antenatal care visits and during labor so that they understand what women go through during this process," Mr. Anduga said. "Most importantly, women require special care during these times."

UNFPA provides a wide range of support beyond safe births to South-Sudan refugees living in the Adjumani District of Uganda. This includes strengthening the health system, providing health care and education, and preventing and responding to gender-based violence. In addition, UNFPA distributes reproductive health kits to healthcare workers and supplies dignity kits, which contain vital hygiene items including menstrual pads and soap to women and girls.

A donation of only $25 can provide one woman in a humanitarian setting 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.

Jan 23, 2017

UNFPA Provides Relief After Hurricane Matthew

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, continues to work with partners in Haiti to rebuild the health systems devastated by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.

In October, UNFPA began relief efforts in the most affected areas of Haiti as a result of Hurricane Matthew. Before this disaster, women and girls already had difficulty in accessing high-quality maternal health services. Haiti suffers from the highest rate of maternal mortality in the Western Hemisphere. Prior to Hurricane Matthew, only 33 percent of the 36 emergency obstetric and neonatal care (EmONC) services were functional, with a total staff of approximately 35 midwives. In Grande Anse, which ultimately became the worst-hit district, only 18 percent of births were assisted by trained medical professionals before this disaster. The maternal mortality rate was already extremely high, with 380 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015 (WHO). Only about 31 percent of women use modern contraceptive methods, and the total fertility rate (TFR) stands at 3.5 children per woman. In 2012, 64 percent of Haitian women were still giving birth at home without medical assistance. These trends in maternal health continued up until Hurricane Matthew

Since the Hurricane struck, UNFPA has focused its efforts in this crisis by providing reproductive health kits, sending UNFPA-trained midwives for 17,000 pregnant women, 2450 dignity kits, 1000 cooking kits, and 1000 emergency food kits to women and girls. In response, 157 temporary shelters have been set up in the most affected areas. These efforts have been focused on emergency relief in order to prevent maternal health from becoming worse as a result of this disaster.

UNFPA’s long term efforts will be concentrated on preventing the already high rate of maternal deaths from significantly increasing as a result of this crisis. By preventing further increases in maternal mortality, UNFPA hopes that these efforts will continue to decrease maternal mortality over time.

This project is closing and will no longer be running on GlobalGiving. 

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.

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