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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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Nov 13, 2015

UNFPA Distributes Supplies After Typhoon

Jessa Gonzales,19, Casiguran District
Jessa Gonzales,19, Casiguran District

Relief and recovery efforts are ongoing in the Philippines as floodwaters from Typhoon Koppu, known locally as Typhoon Lando, continue to recede. Among those affected are hundreds of thousands of women and girls of childbearing age and tens of thousands of pregnant women, UNFPA estimates.

In areas severely affected by the floods, there have been reports of women giving birth in evacuation centers.

In response, UNFPA has deployed hygiene supplies to pregnant women and new mothers and has delivered medical equipment to health workers to support safe childbirth.

For only $11 you can provide 3 emergency clean birthing kits to help deliver babies safely in crisis situations.

The typhoon was unusually large and slow-moving, unleashing flash floods and landslides when it made landfall on October 18th.

As of November 6th, roughly 713,600 people were still displaced and an estimated 9,000 survivors were currently crowded into evacuation centers.

Health facilities have also been badly affected. At Casiguran District Hospital, much of the roof was blown off the building, and staff members were forced to attend to childbirths in the emergency room because of extensive damage to the maternity ward.

UNFPA has provided the hospital with clean delivery kits, which contain the medicines and sterile supplies required to safely perform deliveries.

 “Pregnant women deliver even in emergencies. We must ensure that they continue to have access to safe and clean delivery despite the situation,” said Klaus Beck, UNFPA’s Representative in the Philippines. “It is a matter of life and death for the woman and the baby.”

UNFPA has also distributed thousands of dignity kits – which contain hygiene supplies, including soap, sanitary napkins, underwear and other essential items – for pregnant and breastfeeding women in affected provinces.

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

Casiguran District Hospital
Casiguran District Hospital
A family
A family's home has been destroyed by the typhoon.
 
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