UNFPA's Work in Haiti
- Reproductive Health Supplies
- Obstetric and Newborn Care
- Gender-Based Violence and Protection
- Young People
- Communicating With Communities
- Assessment and Data Collection
Making sure the needs of women and girls and other vulnerable groups are considered in every stage of the recovery and rebuilding phase is a top priority for UNFPA.
Before the quake, Haiti was the most dangerous place to be pregnant in the Western Hemisphere, with the lifetime risk of dying in childbirth 1 in 47. Haitian women and children were also vulnerable to exploitation, trafficking and physical and sexual abuse. UNFPA's work in Haiti focuses on: assistance in the area of maternal and reproductive health for the affected population; protecting women and girls against gender based violence; helping young people recover and collecting reliable data on the affected population and their needs.
UNFPA is working with partners to deliver emergency reproductive health supplies to hospitals and health facilities throughout Port-au-Prince. To date, the organization has distributed enough kits to serve a population of 1.5 million. The kits include equipment, supplies and medicines for safe deliveries, including for emergency obstetric interventions, such as caesarean operations and blood transfusions. The kits also contain medicines and supplies to treat sexually transmitted infections and provide post-rape care. The kits are being distributed to hospitals, clinics and the health centers that have been established in the spontaneous settlements where the displaced are living.
UNFPA is also helping to safeguard the personal hygiene and health of women and girls by providing dignity kits which include items such as sanitary napkins, anti-bacterial soap, underwear, towels and washing supplies. More than 25,000 dignity kits have been distributed and another 150,000 are in the pipeline. UNFPA is distributing the kits in partnership with the Ministry for Women.
UNFPA is working in a number of areas to improve delivery and newborn care. The availability of emergency obstetric was very limited before the earthquake, and today access to these services is even more limited. There is a serious shortage of experienced midwives and maternity clinics to meet the needs of women in the impacted area. As a result, UNFPA is recruiting senior midwives to commit to working in Haiti for a minimum of one year.
In order to build capacity within the country, UNFPA is working with the Ministry to Health to revise and improve the current midwifery curricula as well and to establish incentive programmes in order to retain trained midwives. UNFPA is also working with partners to mobilize teams of midwives, nurses and obstetricians to be deployed to medical facilities throughout Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas. UNFPA, in consultation with the Ministry of Health, is raising funds for 10 prefabricated maternity clinics to treat pregnant women as well. These clinics will be run by recruited midwives and be able to provide a full range of prenatal services to women. UNFPA is also working with the Ministry of Public Health to coordinate the provision of primary health services in the impacted areas.
In times of crisis and breakdown of communities, women and girls become particularly vulnerable to sexual violence, abuse and exploitation. UNFPA is working with government agencies and NGOs to adopt best practices to protect women and girls. UNFPA’s Gender advisors are meeting regularly with the Haitian National Police and the Ministry of Women to make sure the needs of women and girls are considered at every stage of the recovery and rebuilding phase.
The Police Department has agreed to enhance and more closely patrol the camps, offering a greater measure of protection to women and children. Under UNFPA’s guidance, police are also setting up special tents for women to report violence-related issues and get information on services available.
UNFPA is helping to establish community patrols in camps and will be providing training on gender-based violence to further safeguard displaced women and children.
An inventory of available centers to treat victims of violence has been completed as well as an evaluation of 45 police stations to determine their capacity to respond to violence against women. This information is being distributed widely in camps and broadcasted on radio programmes. Data collection regarding gender based violence is still being reported on an anecdotal basis; however, steps are being taken to establish an accurate and safe monitoring system.
UNFPA has received 17,000 flashlights that will be assembled by youth as part of a cash-for-work program. The flashlights will be provided to women living in high risk makeshift settlements. UNFPA is also working with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to set up 300 tents as safe spaces for women in spontaneous settlements.
Within the United Nations coordinated relief effort, UNFPA is coordinating gender-based violence issues within the protection cluster. UNFPA’s gender advisors are coordinating with the nutrition, shelter and water and sanitation clusters to make sure camps are safe places for women and children and that humanitarian programmes take into consideration the specific needs of women and girls.
Young people, aged 15-24, represent 22.7 per cent of Haiti’s population, and can be a powerful force in Haiti’s reconstruction. By training young people, UNFPA is providing structure for them, as well as capitalizing on their energy and enthusiasm. UNFPA is supporting cash-for-work initiatives, recruiting young people to assemble dignity kits for distribution among the displaced population. Youth volunteers also helped distribute supplementary food to 53,000 children and 16,000 pregnant and new mothers and provided referrals to additional health services.
Informing the affected population on what services are available to them is a critical element of service delivery. Working as part of the Communications for Disaster-Affected Communities ,an initiative that focuses on ensuring humanitarian messages are broadcast on Haiti's most popular radio stations, UNFPA is relaying information to thousands of women in Port-au-Prince on where they can receive legal, medical, and psycho-social support. On March 22, UNFPA launched six public service announcements to promote gender-based violence awareness and safety on Haiti's seven largest radio stations. They will run for the next 60 days nationwide.
UNFPA, in partnership with the Haitian Institute of Statistics played a key role in coordinating the post-disaster needs assessment survey, just completed in the impacted area. UNFPA recruited national consultants and volunteers to collect and process the data, as well as to analyze domestic and international migration, urbanization, education, economic activity, and fertility and mortality rates. This survey will form the basis for fund-raising for recovery at a donor conference for Haiti on March 31 in New York.