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Posts Tagged ‘Reproductive Health in Disaster Settings’

Today, July 12th, marks six months since the devastating earthquake that shook Haiti earlier this year, killing more than 200,000 people.  An article, published today on Relief Web, outlines several of the components of the national health plan of the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population (with support from UNFPA) that was developed after the earthquake. The plan includes reviving the National School of Nurses and Midwives to reestablish midwifery training programs, working with UNICEF to set up clinics to provide skilled reproductive health services and basic emergency newborn care, supporting the Haitian Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to improve referral systems for maternal and neonatal services, and a variety of other activities to reduce morbidity and mortality among Haiti’s most vulnerable populations.

Relief Web

Excerpt from the article:

“…Life in the temporary camps poses a number of health challenges, especially for women and girls. Living in tight, often insecure quarters with minimal access to sanitation can expose women and girls to sexual violence and other dangers.

Over the past months, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, has provided maternal health supplies, including birthing kits to serve a population of 2 million people, as well as 22,000 hygiene kits aimed at the female population living in temporary camps, along with nearly 1,000 tents, 2000 mattresses and 17,000 solar lamps…”

Click here for the full story.

For information on UNFPA’s work in Haiti, click here.

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International aid groups and public hospitals are struggling to keep up with births in post-earthquake Haiti. The city still lacks adequate numbers of health workers and supplies–leaving many pregnant women without access to obstetric care services.

Miami Herald

A young Haitian doctor finishes delivering 26-year-old Joanne Desir's first baby as she's being held by her husband, Patrice Zephir, in the back of a pickup truck outside the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince. PATRICK FARRELL / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

“..There are new concerns for the 63,000 pregnant women now living in Port-au-Prince. More than 7,000 are expected to give birth this month.

`People here are giving birth under the absolute worst conditions,’ said Dr. Jonathan Evans, a pediatric gastroenterologist volunteering at the University of Miami field hospital. `They can’t find access to midwives. Little problems become big problems.’

In the sprawling camp at the city center of Champs de Mars, where the fruit flies are unrelenting and the stench of human waste inescapable, Antoine Toussaint worries about the health of her unborn child.

Toussaint, 27, is nine months into her pregnancy. She lost her last baby, a son, in childbirth two years ago. This time, Toussaint will have only the help of her family if complications arise…”

Read the full story here.

For more information on the University of Miami response to the earthquake, click here.

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The Reproductive Health Response in Crises Consortium applauds current relief efforts in Haiti while calling on humanitarian actors to provide lifesaving reproductive health services for women displaced by the earthquake.

The RHRC Consortium

The RHRC Consortium calls on humanitarian actors to meet the needs of women and girls—including the 63,000  pregnant women in Port au Prince.  (Other organizations have put the estimate lower at 37,000.) The RHRC estimates that 7,000 will deliver in the coming month.

The statement includes calls to action on issues of safe delivery,  sexual violence and exploitation, HIV/AIDS, and family planning.

Click here to read their full statement.

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March of Dimes

“The March of Dimes has made a grant to UNICEF to help thousands of pregnant women, mothers and babies in Haiti imperiled by the devastating earthquake and its aftermath.

‘The March of Dimes is deeply concerned about the thousands of pregnant women and moms caring for infants in Haiti, especially extremely fragile premature babies’ said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes.  ‘Many babies and young children have been separated from their families, others are feared orphaned.’

The March of Dimes special gift of $100,000 will help Haitian women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and babies who are in dire need of proper nutrition, safe water, and safe ways to prepare infant formula, as well as supplies such as diapers and clothing…”

The article also points out several of the long-term needs of women and babies in Haiti including prenatal and newborn care, specialized care and equipment for an expected rise in premature births, multivitamins with folic acid for women of childbearing age, etc.

Read the full story here.

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UNFPA is asking for help as they try to establish emergency obstetric services for the estimated 37,000 pregnant women affected by Tuesday’s earthquake in Haiti.

ReliefWeb

“…To meet the urgent maternal health and other needs of women, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is seeking about $4.6 million as part of the coordinated United Nations Flash Appeal that will be launched today. The funding would supplement the supplies UNFPA is already providing in Haiti and address the specific needs of women, girls and other vulnerable populations for the next six months.”

Read the full story here.

Here is a list of what UNFPA will use the additional funds for:

– Refurbish maternity wards to handle emergency obstetric care and other life-saving health services

– Deploy skilled health professionals, such as midwives, obstetricians and nurses, to affected areas to provide maternal health and emergency obstetric care

– Provide emergency safe delivery and reproductive health medicines and supplies to temporary clinics and health facilities being set up

– Help safeguard the personal hygiene and dignity of women and girls by providing related sanitary supplies

– Facilitate access of affected populations, especially young people, to psychosocial counseling and other services

– Carry out interventions to prevent gender based violence.

UNFPA offers this contact information if you are looking for more info:

In Santo Domingo: Trygve Olfarnes, Tel: +507 301 7362, Satellite:

+ 898 8169 3160 0057 1740, olfarnes@unfpa.org.

In New York: Jessica Malter, Tel: + 1 212 297 5190, malter@unpfa.org

Omar Gharzeddine, Tel: + 1 212 297 5028 gharzeddine@unfpa.org

To donate directly to UNFPA, click here.

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Haiti has the highest maternal mortality ratio in the western hemisphere (670 maternal deaths/100,000 live births)—and UNFPA warns that this number will likely sky-rocket following the massive earthquake on Tuesday.

UN News Center

“WHO is helping to collect data on the health impact of the earthquake and is also deploying a 12-member team comprising experts in mass casualty management, coordination of emergency health response and the management of dead bodies.

UNICEF, whose offices have been badly damaged, said it will help children continue their schooling and provide safe play areas while their caretakers rebuild their lives.

Meanwhile, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) cautioned that thousands of women at risk from complications and death related to pregnancy and childbirth are in danger due to the earthquake.

Haiti has the highest maternal mortality rates in the region, with 670 deaths per 100,000 live births, and this figure is set to skyrocket due to yesterday’s powerful tremors…”

Read the full story here.

For a list of organizations you can contribute to who are helping in Haiti, click here.

Make a donation now via text message:

Text “Haiti” to 90999 – donates $10 to the Red Cross

Text “Yele” to 501501 – donates $5 to YELE HAITI

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