Today is the World Humanitarian Day (WHD), which is day set aside to honor and pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service. It is also a day to mobilize people to advocate for a more humane world.
In humanitarian situations arising from conflict, responses to those affected often come from different quarters, such as aid agencies, NGOs, the government and neighboring countries. But while most emergency responses focus on the provision of food, water and shelter, a very critical need of these populations –their Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), often tend to be missed or overlooked. The relief in these situations comes through organizations involved in humanitarian response, such as IPPF Africa Region -the leading sexual and reproductive health and rights in the continent.
Through our humanitarian work, we have over the years been able to address the SRHR needs of populations in crisis in the countries of Chad, Burundi, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea Conakry, Mali, Cameroon and Nigeria.
In these areas, we have encountered children, adolescents, women and men who have suffered detrimental reproductive health consequences either while fleeing conflict or in the refugee camps. They have undergone sexual abuse and exploitation, intimate partner violence and other forms of gender-based violence, Sexually Transmitted Infections (including HIV), unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and inadequate obstetric and maternal healthcare services.
Our response has been through the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) implementation plan -implemented by our Member Associations and other collaborating partners. Through MISP, we have successfully offered quality SRHR services including family planning, maternal and child health services, HIV counselling and testing, as well as STI treatment.
Further, IPPF Africa Region has pushed for the presence of skilled health workers and the availability of SRHR services in the refugee camps, offering technical assistance and training of health workers. Thousands of African lives have been saved and positively impacted through our interventions.
IPPFAR honors the dedicated team of health workers involved in the humanitarian responses –including doctors, nurses, volunteers and other health workers. These individuals selflessly give their time and resources to serve the displaced and refugee populations, often working under difficult and demanding circumstances. Through their selfless sacrifice, many lives continue to be saved. Today, we celebrate these heroes.
Read more about our humanitarian work in Uganda here.