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. 
Jun 29, 2016

Building Resilience: UNFPA's Work in Ebola-Affected West Africa

Since early 2015, Friends of UNFPA’s Global Giving project, “Make Motherhood Safe in Ebola-affected Countries” has helped UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, rebuild health systems throughout West Africa that were devastated by the outbreak. With help from generous supporters like you, health systems are now on the road to recovery and are better situated to face future public health emergencies. With the outbreak declared officially over in January 2016 by the World Health Organization, UNFPA’s work in the region will now focus on broader reproductive health needs.


With the Ebola outbreak disrupting the delivery of basic healthcare services in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone it was necessary for international agencies like UNFPA to not only work to end the outbreak, but to also re-establish health systems in order to meet the basic needs of surrounding populations. In Liberia for example, more than 50 percent of health facilities, including those that provided antenatal care services to pregnant women, closed following the highpoint of the crisis in the summer of 2014, leaving women without anywhere to turn to deliver safely.

While the Ebola virus continued to spread, funds raised enabled UNFPA to further its work in contact tracing, the process in which trained select community members located each person that was in contact with an infected individual. UNFPA’s contact tracing helped stop the spread of the virus in order for the rebuilding stage to begin.

As UNFPA worked to rebuild the region’s health systems with a particular focus on maternal health, its broader goal was to develop the region’s resilience to disasters and disease outbreaks. By investing in the healthcare workforce, building confidence in facilities in surrounding communities, integrating traditional caregivers into the larger system, and communicating on the importance of facility-based care and delivery, UNFPA helped rehabilitate the healthcare system and prepared it to better handle the next disaster or outbreak.

As a result of UNFPA’s work, the region has witnessed increases in prenatal check-ups, the use of modern contraceptives, and facility-based deliveries. Specifically, in Bomi County, Liberia, so far in 2016 there have been 528 facility-based births, nearly 5,000 users of modern contraceptives, and over 3,000 prenatal care visits conducted.

Project Conclusion:

Since the World Health Organization declared the end of the Ebola outbreak in January 2016, it is necessary for UNFPA Country Offices in West Africa to resume core activities geared toward improving access to sexual and reproductive healthcare for women and girls. Specific projects now ongoing in the region include reducing instances of teenage pregnancy through prevention education, centered in schools, via media and other forms of healthcare information dissemination.

Additional Opportunities:

While Friends of UNFPA is concluding Ebola-related fundraising, there are additional opportunities on Global Giving to support UNFPA’s ongoing work to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

Thank you for your support of this project. With your help, UNFPA has been able to provide health and dignity to the women and girls affected by the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

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