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Special Report on UNFPA Assistance Six Months After the Tsunami

Story and photos by William A. Ryan

 

Dr. Bina Hayati at the Jantho Clinic.

Nearly everyone else in Siti Maria Ulfa's village perished on 26 December. Pregnant, she survived in a treetop holding onto a small child. The family lost everything. She plans to give birth on a mat in her tent, attended by Dr. Hayati. ‘We need beds,' she tells visitors.

In May, UN Tsunami Envoy Bill Clinton held a newborn at the Jantho Clinic and suggested the child be given a name expressing hope. CREDIT: WFP/Barry Came.

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Reproductive Health for the Displaced

In addition to its support to the provincial and district health offices, UNFPA is playing a lead role in assessing maternal health conditions and promoting coordination among the various NGOs and agencies involved in providing reproductive health services to the displaced population.

In the months after the disaster, UNFPA supplied regular and makeshift health facilities with various essential items needed to ensure the health of displaced women and newborns. Today, many different partners are distributing the midwifery supplies and contraceptives it has sent to Aceh.

The Jantho Clinic , in a tent camp in Aceh Besar, provides basic health care and family planning for about 1,500 women from five camps, including around 40 who are currently pregnant. It is run by Dr. Bina Hayati and three nurses. UNFPA provides midwifery kits and other reproductive health supplies—including oral and injectable contraceptives, Norplant, condoms and IUDs—and will soon organize training for the staff.

UN envoy Bill Clinton visited the Jantho clinic in May. There, a woman who had lost nine of her 10 children introduced him to a mother who had given birth just two days earlier. She asked him to name her boy, and he suggested a name meaning “new beginning”. They named him “Dawn.” Clinton later wrote, “I think a lot about that little boy, and our obligation to give him a new dawn."

 
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