UNFPA Assists Displaced Persons in Sri Lanka
22 Apr 2009
22 Apr 2009
COLOMBO — Women and girls uprooted by the conflict in northern Sri Lanka need assistance to maintain their health and dignity, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, said today. The Fund is collaborating with district health authorities to provide personal hygiene supplies to displaced people in Vavuniya district.
In response to the large recent influx of displaced people – including thousands who escaped the combat zone this week – some 13,000 hygiene packs have been handed over to the regional director of health services and another 12,000 packs will be distributed soon. These include soap, washing powder, a toothbrush, other toiletries, undergarments and sanitary supplies for menstruation. They allow women and girls of reproductive age to keep a sense of self-esteem and also facilitate their mobility.
In addition, UNFPA has provided over 20 beds to furnish the proposed post-natal care unit at the Ayurvedic Hospital in Paipeymadu, Vavuniya, where post-partum patients and infants will be able to stay during their recovery.
Along with other UN agencies and humanitarian organizations, UNFPA is deeply concerned about the plight of tens of thousands of civilians unable to flee the fighting between government troops and rebel forces in the Vanni region.
“Women and girls have unique needs,” said UNFPA Representative Lene K. Christiansen. “UNFPA is working with government and non-governmental partners to ensure that these needs are not overlooked in the current crisis,” she added.
Under its humanitarian programme, the Fund continues to provide maternity kits to displaced pregnant women at 37 weeks, to safeguard the hygiene of mothers and newborns after delivery. UNFPA is also supporting mobile reproductive health clinics run by the Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka, offering displaced persons prenatal and post-natal care, voluntary family planning, counselling and prevention of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS.
William A. Ryan
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