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Mar 15, 2016

UNFPA Increases Facility-based Care After Ebola

UNFPA training on supply distribution
UNFPA training on supply distribution

In the aftermath of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, UNFPA’s focus is now on helping the region’s health systems fully recover and become more resilient so they are better prepared for future outbreaks or crises. Most importantly, UNFPA is working with communities throughout the region to re-establish confidence in hospitals and healthcare facilities.

As a result of the Ebola outbreak, fewer women have been seeking facility-based healthcare for pre-natal treatment and check-ups as well as for deliveries. Throughout the outbreak, pregnant women were either turned away or stayed away from hospitals out of fear of contracting the virus. UNFPA is working with its partners to demonstrate to women that they can return to hospitals for the care they need, especially for pregnancy and childbirth.

By employing traditional midwives to build awareness of the benefits and availability of facility-based care, UNFPA is working to reduce maternal and newborn deaths to pre-Ebola levels and beyond. According to the World Bank, the maternal mortality rate in Liberia alone is projected to increase by 111 percent.

Through regular meetings with traditional caregivers, UNFPA is reinforcing the importance of referring pregnant women for facility-based care and delivery, where infections and illnesses can be treated and complications during delivery can be addressed.  

During monthly meetings, UNFPA provides traditional caregivers with refresher training on topics such as warning signs during pregnancy, the importance of facility deliveries, care for newborns, family planning and its benefits, the prevention of Malaria in pregnancy, the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, and the dangers of delivering without the supervision of a skilled caregiver.

In between meetings, traditional caregivers, who have developed relationships with communities and individuals, explain the benefits of facility-based care and child delivery to women and families. By spreading this message, UNFPA is working to reverse the impact of the Ebola outbreak by improving access to maternal health services.

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 “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.

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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