Reproductive health, dignity kits important aspect of disaster preparedness
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, has prepositioned life-saving Reproductive Health (RH) Kits and Dignity Kits in Kathmandu, three regions and 16 districts of Nepal in order to be able to respond rapidly to the needs of affected populations in case of an emergency.
While more than 3,000 Dignity Kits have been prepositioned in Kathmandu and far-western, mid-western and southern Nepal (including approximately 1,300 supported through the Government of Australia), the RH Kits stored at the Nepal Red Cross Society and the UNFPA Country Office can fulfill the needs of up to 270,000 affected people through health facilities.
“The prepositioning of the RH Kits and Dignity Kits along with strengthening the coordination mechanism, contingency planning and capacity development is part of UNFPA support to the Government of Nepal’s work on emergency preparedness,” said UNFPA Country Representative for Nepal Giulia Vallese. Nepal is a country with high vulnerability to natural disasters. Its geographical features, including inaccessible areas and landlocked nature, are impediment to a prompt response in case of disasters. Landslides, flooding, fire and earthquakes are not uncommon in the country.
While Dignity Kits are individual packages containing clothes, hygiene supplies including sanitary pads and a torch given to women, RH Kits are comprehensive packages of medical equipment and supplies. As such, they include clean delivery kits to help pregnant women deliver their babies in hygienic conditions as well as post-rape treatment kits, oral and injectable contraceptives, drugs for the management of sexually-transmitted infections, birthing supplies, intrauterine devices, drugs for miscarriage management and other equipment.
In the past, UNFPA had delivered RH Kits and Dignity Kits to several areas in times of natural disasters, including the Koshi flood in 2008, mid-western floods in 2014, the devastating earthquake in 2015 and recent floods and landslides in some districts, including Pyuthan.
Limited access to reproductive health services puts the lives of many women and babies at high risk during emergencies. A lack of adequate gender-based violence services equally becomes a life threatening problem for many women and girls in an emergency situation when gender-based violence increases dramatically. Thus, access to information on protection issues and on reproductive health, as well as and access to basic hygiene supplies are essential, indeed life-saving, for women and adolescent girls.
Today on World Humanitarian Day (August 19), we call for national solidarity and stand together with everyone affected by crises in Nepal. UNFPA will continue to work with the Government of Nepal, development partners and civil society to meet life-saving reproductive health and protection needs of affected populations, especially women and girls.