UNITED NATIONS — With more floods expected to hit large parts of Pakistan, causing deadly disruptions to more people’s lives, it is critical to address the special needs of displaced women and girls, particularly pregnant women, says UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.
More than 15.4 million Pakistanis have been affected by the recent floods, out of which 6 million are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance--including an estimated 1.5 million women of childbearing age. Nearly 52,500 women are expected to give birth in the next three months and about 53,000 newborns will need health care. In addition, more than 9,000 women will need surgical interventions to address pregnancy-related complications in the immediate future.
“Millions of Pakistanis are suffering from this disaster and they need international solidarity,” said UNFPA’s Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. “Women have special needs because they continue to give birth, regardless of the dangers surrounding them, and require timely medical care to ensure a safe delivery.”
As part of its response to the flooding that began in late July, UNFPA has deployed seven mobile service units that are fully staffed and equipped to provide emergency reproductive health care and psychosocial support to the affected communities. In addition, UNFPA is supporting 13 government health facilities in 10 districts of the three affected provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab. It is also conducting an analysis in the area of gender, and will raise additional resources for gender and psychosocial support services.
UNFPA has so far provided emergency reproductive health medicines, women’s hygiene kits, newborn kits and clean delivery kits that serve the needs of thousands of Pakistani women. The Fund will also help distribute nearly 2,000 birthing kits contributed by the Government of Australia.
UNFPA estimates a shortfall of $8.8 million for efforts to meet the basic reproductive health needs of the affected population for the next three months. The Fund plans to procure and distribute an additional 50,000 women’s hygiene kits and newborn kits and other emergency medical health supplies and equipment essential to ensuring safe deliveries and addressing pregnancy-related complications.
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