Tuesday, April 9, 2019
The Sexual and Reproductive Health in Emergencies Programme has begun in the Pacific with Family Planning hosting its colleagues from Tuvalu, Kiribati, Cook Islands, Australia and the IPPF Pacific Humanitarian Hub in Fiji for a week-long training programme.
This new programme, led by IPPF’s Pacific Humanitarian team and funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will improve access to life-saving sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in emergencies for Kiribati, the Cook Islands and Tuvalu.
The programme is centred around three core components:
- Creating a policy and funding environment increasingly supportive of SRH in humanitarian settings;
- Increasing national capacity to coordinate implementation of the Minimal Initial Service Package (MISP) in crises. This package is a set of life-saving actions to:
- Coordinate implementation
- Prevent and manage the consequences of sexual violence
- Reduce transmission of HIV and other STIs
- Prevent maternal and infant mortality
- Prevent unintended pregnancies
- Plan for a return to comprehensive SRH health services integrated into primary health care as soon as the situation stabilises
- Implementing the MISP in a timely manner in crises.
The meeting was an opportunity for IPPF member associations, including clinical staff, from across the three focus countries to come together and learn about the critical role of sexual and reproductive health in emergencies. SRH needs do not stop in emergencies – women continue to be pregnant, babies are being born, STI and HIV risk is still present and sexual and gender-based violence can increase. More than 500 women and girls die every day in emergency settings due to complications from pregnancy and childbirth. There is a clear need for the MISP following emergencies.
During the meeting, colleagues from Tuvalu, Cook Islands and Kiribati discussed their individual experiences with disasters in their countries. While SRH needs in emergencies are not currently being prioritised, the programme has given the opportunity for member associations to engage with government and ministries on the life-saving MISP actions and there is real interest in updating policies and guidelines as well as training staff.
The meeting also gave Family Planning another opportunity to reconnect with colleagues from the Kiribati Family Health Association (KFHA) with whom they have partnered on a project since 2012. Family Planning and KFHA will look for ways to integrate the MISP lessons into the project including Family Planning’s annual clinical update programme in Kiribati.
Following the meeting, IPPF ran a three-day training for six Family Planning staff to train as surge response. These staff will offer clinical, coordination, monitoring and evaluation and reporting skills to the Pacific member association who need and request this assistance following emergencies.
Family Planning is grateful to IPPF and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for the inclusion in this programme and widening our capacity to support our colleagues in the Pacific who are striving for sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.
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