Press Release

Six Months After Pakistan Earthquake, UNFPA Continues Providing Vital Health Services to Communities

7 April 2006
Author: UNFPA

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Six months after the devastating 8 October 2005 earthquake that ripped through northern Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, continues to provide much-needed health assistance to the earthquake victims, especially women and adolescent girls. The massive earthquake, which measured 7.6 on the Richter scale, killed more than 80,000 people, injured over 140,000 and left over 3.5 million people homeless.

“From our experience in the tsunami and other disasters around the world, we know that women and girls are disproportionately affected in emergencies,” said UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. “They need special focus and attention from the emergency phase, to relief, recovery and reconstruction. In Pakistan’s earthquake-affected areas, UNFPA is working not only to address women’s immediate health needs, but also to involve them in the rebuilding of their lives and communities.”

According to local health authorities and communities, health-care delivery after the earthquake has increased significantly, due to the help of UNFPA, the World Health Organization and other partners. As the health infrastructure was badly damaged in most of the earthquake-affected districts, UNFPA mobile service units (MSUs) have been providing a vital health service to the communities. Six months after the earthquake, the nine UNFPA MSUs and five prefabricated health facilities have handled more than 156,000 patients, delivered more than 1,200 babies and referred above 2,400 cases to more advanced health facilities.

Other examples: 

  • UNFPA is setting up prefabricated health facilities in collaboration with the Ministry of Health at federal and local levels. Ten additional mobile clinics and 13 prefabricated health facilities will be provided.

  • UNFPA is working with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to establish community Women-Friendly Spaces to ensure that women and adolescent girls have a safe and dedicated space to share their views, get information, literacy, legal aid, psychosocial counselling and skills development.

  • UNFPA has distributed over 210,000 hygiene kits to girls and women in the affected areas. Each kit contains items related to the specific needs of women, such as soaps, towels, combs, clean sheets and sanitary items.

  • UNFPA is responding to women’s personal hygiene needs by working with local NGOs to set up hammams (prefabricated bathing spaces for women) that ensure security, access, proper lighting and privacy. The hammams will be set up near health facilities, making them easily accessible to women and girls.

In response to conflicts or natural disasters, UNFPA works to ensure that the special needs of women and young people are factored into the design and delivery of short- and medium-term humanitarian assistance. In Pakistan’s earthquake-affected areas, its priorities are reproductive health, including safe childbirth and addressing psychosocial needs of women and adolescent girls.

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UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

Contact Information:

Islamabad: Shahida Fazil, UNFPA Assistant Representative, tel.: +92-51-2800-106, sfazil@un.org.pk; or Rabya Nizam, UNFPA Gender and Communication Officer, tel.: +92-51-280-2824, mobile: +92-300-5011105, rabya.nizam@un.org.pk

New York: Abubakar Dungus, tel.+1(212) 297-5031, dungus@unfpa.org

Pakistan
Population : 204.6 mil
Fertility rate
3.3
Maternal Mortality Ratio
178
Contraceptives prevalence rate
42
Population aged 10-24
29%
Youth secondary school enrollment
Boys 49%
Girls 40%