UNFPA: Clean Delivery Kits in Emergency Situations

by Friends of UNFPA, Inc
Vetted
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.

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

Links:

A mother sits with her baby in a health facility
A mother sits with her baby in a health facility

In February of this year, Cyclone Winston devastated the island nation of Fiji in the Pacific Ocean. Approximately 340,000 people, or 40 percent of Fiji’s population, were impacted by the category 5 cyclone – the worst storm ever recorded in the southern hemisphere. The storm affected 87,500 women and girls of reproductive age, including 5,600 pregnant women. The storm also completely destroyed eight large hospitals and damaged 55 others.

Even under normal conditions, reproductive health issues are a leading cause of death and illness among women of childbearing age. When a crisis strikes, skilled birth attendance and emergency obstetric care often become unavailable, exacerbating the vulnerability of pregnant women.

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.

Since Cyclone Winston hit Fiji, UNFPA has distributed over 1,000 clean delivery kits to women, procured 4,400 more and provided 150 reproductive health kits to medical facilities to ensure they can continue to offer life-saving reproductive health services despite damages or lack of electricity. UNFPA is also supporting the deployment of 20 additional midwives in highly impacted areas.

“We must ensure that services for pregnant women and childbirth facilities remain accessible. And women and girls must be able to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies and from sexual violence,” stated Dr. Laurent Zessler, director and representative of the UNFPA Pacific Sub-Regional.

In addition to providing reproductive health care, gender-based violence (GBV) services are a critical part of meeting the needs of vulnerable women and girls in Fiji. According to the Fiji Women Crisis Center, 64 percent of women in the country suffer physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner in their lifetime, and in times of crisis, rates of GBV often spike.

"It is a plain and simple truth that disasters reinforce, perpetuate and increase gender inequality, making bad situations worse for women,” said Margaret Wahlstrom, former Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction.

UNFPA also provides dignity kits to women in disaster 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.

Links:

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 Devex.com. “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.


Attachments:
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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Organization Information

Friends of UNFPA, Inc

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.friendsofunfpa.org
Project Leader:
Olivia Ryan
NY, NY United States
$20,890 raised of $98,000 goal
 
654 donations
$77,110 to go
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