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Special Report on UNFPA Assistance Six Months After the Tsunami

Story and photos by William A. Ryan


Young mother at barracks. UNFPA is supporting BKKBN to do family planning outreach among the displaced.



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Family Planning

The distribution of contraceptives to married couples is managed by the provincial office of the National Family Planning Coordination Board, known as BKKBN, which collaborates with health facilities and has a network of midwives and community-based agents to reach villages and camps and barracks for the displaced. UNFPA has ordered a large volume of supplies to meet anticipated needs in the next 12 months.

But BKKBN lost many workers on 26 December, and UNFPA is helping it to rebuild its staff, with financial support and training. The mobility of the tsunami survivors, moving between private homes and camps, or back to their villages, is another challenge.

According to Mukmim, head of BKKBN's family planning division in Aceh, demand for contraceptives still outstrips the available supply and is strong throughout the province, where couples have an average of four children. It is too soon to observe any increase in childbearing among the survivors, but he has found that of parents who lost children fathers are more often eager to have new ones, with many mothers feeling it is still too soon to start.

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