WITH rising levels of violence around the world especially in developing countries including Nigeria, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has said it would require a whopping $308 million to provide for sexual, reproductive health and actions against gender violence in emergency situations.
The fund which is urgently needed to make available life-saving kits in 2017 for an estimated 38m people also include providing obstetric care for 5.6m pregnant women in 56 countries where there are conflicts and natural disasters.
The UNFPA is appealing to several community leaders across the world to help make available donations to assist with providing life-saving sexual and reproductive health services, as well as programmes to address gender-based violence in countries such as Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen.
In a statement issued ahead of the Safe Motherhood day, it noted that out of the much needed intervention fund of $308 million, it has so far received $71 million, which is only 23 per cent of what is needed to meet the special needs of women, girls and young people.
UNFPA’s appeal is part of a larger global fundraising effort initiated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, with an appeal for $23.5 billion.
Sexual and reproductive health in humanitarian crises were also underscored at the recent London Family Planning Summit, held on World Population Day, July 11.
The Summit galvanized further support for UNFPA’s mandate, including for humanitarian work, to end maternal deaths, unmet demand for family planning, as well violence against women and harmful practices.
According to the Acting UNFPA Director, Dr Natalia Kanem, “Every day, in countries around the world, UNFPA and its partners are working to meet the reproductive health needs of women, adolescent girls and young people in emergencies, responding to their priorities and ensuring their participation.
“But so much more needs to be done. With rising needs, we need rising support”, she added.
According to Kanem,“The death of more than 500 women every day from complications during pregnancy and childbirth in countries affected by humanitarian crisis and fragility, and persistent high levels of gender-based violence, testify to the need for stronger collective action”.
During crises, it is estimated that one in five women of childbearing age is likely to be pregnant. And some 60 per cent of maternal deaths occur in countries affected by humanitarian crises and fragile contexts.
“Services for sexual and reproductive health to prevent and respond to gender-based violence can mean the difference between life and death, yet these services are often neglected,” said Dr. Kanem.
“This neglect results in untold suffering and shame, and limits prospects for a more just and stable future.”