Press Release

Pregnant Women, their Children, Fleeing Violence in Chad Face Increased Risk, UNFPA Says

06 February 2008

DAKAR, Senegal — As tens of thousands of people flee the ongoing violence in Chad, concerns are being raised by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, for the health and safety of expectant mothers and their children. 

Thousands of refugees have streamed across the border between Chad and Cameroon to seek shelter from the fighting. UNFPA seeks to make motherhood as safe as possible during crisis situations by providing care before, during and after delivery and by helping those who want to delay or avoid pregnancy.

“We know that in any refugee crisis, one in five women of childbearing age may be pregnant,” said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA’s Executive Director. “UNFPA is working with government and non-governmental organization partners to assess the situation of Chadians who have crossed into Cameroon. We are providing support to protect maternal health and ensure that women and girls are safe from violence.”

Without existing health facilities, many Chadian refugees who are pregnant may not have access to the maternal health care they need, said Pamela Delargy, the head of UNFPA’s Humanitarian Response Unit. UNFPA will provide clean delivery kits, which include plastic sheeting, razor blades and soap, to ensure safe delivery to displaced mothers as well as support local health facilities to provide emergency obstetric care.

“As always, civilians suffer the most in conflict situations,” said Cheikh T. Cisse’, UNFPA Representative for Chad. “It is our responsibility to assist them and to ensure the special needs of women and girls are fully considered in all humanitarian response.”

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Contact Information: 

New York: Omar Gharzeddine, tel.: +1-212-297-5028, gharzeddine@unfpa.org

Yaoundé:  Cheikh T. Cisse’, tel.: + 237-7413-0641 or +237-221-98-63 or 64, cisse@unfpa.org

Dakar: Angela Walker, tel: +221-77-508-0745, awalker@unfpa.org

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