UNFPA Rushes Reproductive Health Supplies to Sindh as Floods Worsen
16 Sep 2011
16 Sep 2011
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Responding to the Government’s call for international assistance, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is moving rapidly to deliver urgently needed reproductive health services to flood-affected people in Pakistan as part of a coordinated United Nations humanitarian response.
According to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the unprecedented torrential rains in the southern part of the country have affected more than 5.7 million people mostly in Sindh province. Over one million houses are damaged or destroyed and there is extensive damage to livestock and crops. The Government has so far set up more than 2,600 relief camps.
The maternal and child health services in at least 40 per cent of health facilities are currently disrupted. UNFPA estimates that at least 1.2 million women of reproductive age are among the 5 million people affected by the heavy monsoon rains and floods across Pakistan. At least 115,000 are pregnant. Every day close to 400 women go into labour; at least 60 have life-threatening pregnancy-related complications that require urgent medical assistance.
Certain districts, now submerged, had high malnutrition even before the floods. The women who were already severely anaemic will be even more prone to complications of pregnancy and delivery. With the continuing rains and stagnating water, pregnant women and newborns living in open air are increasingly exposed to malaria and dengue.
In the face of the rapidly evolving emergency, UNFPA is collaborating with humanitarian partners to deliver reproductive health and protection services to women and adolescent girls. Supplies to cover the reproductive health needs of 600,000 people for one month have been dispatched to Sindh and are being distributed in seven severely affected districts where the number of women is the highest. The Fund is urgently mobilizing more medicines and essential supplies to reach the affected communities.
Twenty-five mobile service units are being moved to seven of the hardest-hit districts in Sindh: Badin, Khairpur, Mirpur Khas, Nawabshah, Umerkot, Tando Muhammed Khan and Tando Allahyar Khan. These vehicles are equipped to provide primary health care, basic emergency obstetric care and services responding to gender-based violence. Support will be scaled up to provide comprehensive obstetric services through health facilities in a second phase.
“UNFPA ensures that women are able to deliver safely even in times of disaster. While our role remains the same whether in emergency, early recovery or development, in a humanitarian crisis our work become even more urgent as the vulnerability of women and girls is increased,” says Rabbi Royan, UNFPA Country Representative in Pakistan.
In the relief camps, women and children make up more than 70 per cent of the camp population. UNFPA is working to ensure that the protection needs of displaced women and adolescent girls are not forgotten. “Women are scared to go out, especially at night; hygiene and latrines are big issues at the moment,” says Khalida Parveen, UNFPA staff in Hyderabad.
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