UNFPA Reaches 16 Million with Humanitarian Assistance in 2017

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UNITED NATIONS, New Yorl. UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is appealing for $463 million to provide life-saving services to about 30 million women of childbearing age, including over 4 million pregnant women, who will be affected by humanitarian crises in countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria. UNFPA humanitarian actions focus on providing sexual and reproductive health services, promoting access to family planning as well as preventing and responding to violence against women and girls.

In humanitarian contexts, one in five women of childbearing age is likely to be pregnant. Up to 70 per cent of women face, or have been survivors of gender-based violence in crises, with life-long physical, emotional, social, and economic consequences. However, UNFPA’s 2017 humanitarian response received only $215 million, just 51 per cent of the $424 million required.

“UNFPA views a woman’s right to sexual and reproductive health services as the underpinning of our humanitarian activities,” said UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem. “These services are not optional. They are lifesaving. Women and girls don’t stop getting pregnant or giving birth in times of crisis, and they are at heightened risk for sexual assault and violence in conflict and complex emergencies. The world must come together to ensure girls and women do not die giving birth, and to ensure their safety when systems fail them.”

In 2017, UNFPA reached 16 million people with humanitarian assistance in 58 countries. This included establishing 880 mobile health clinics and supporting 2,280 health facilities to provide emergency obstetric care, and providing life-saving services to more than 375,000 gender violence survivors. In the past year, conflict was the main driver of humanitarian needs, and UNFPA anticipates this will remain as the main reason for humanitarian response through 2018.

Dr. Kanem highlights in the report: “Every woman has the right to decide whether or when she will become pregnant, and the right to give birth safely and live free of violence.

UNFPA will continue to prioritize humanitarian action, putting women and girls in crises, and in fragile systems, in the forefront of its response.

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