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Emergencies and Humanitarian Response

Sudden emergency situations can threaten the lives, livelihoods and long-term well-being of affected populations. A number of countries in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region are prone to humanitarian emergencies caused by conflicts or natural disasters. UNFPA works to provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services in crisis settings. Humanitarian crises increase women’s vulnerability to unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and HIV, hazardous pregnancies and sexual violence and exploitation. UNFPA seeks to make motherhood as safe as possible during emergency situations and help those who want to delay or avoid pregnancy and provide care before, during and after delivery. These essential services are a vital component of basic health care, with the consequences of poor reproductive health often exacerbated in emergency settings.

The Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for Reproductive Health is a priority set of life-saving activities to be implemented at the onset of a humanitarian crisis. The programme, supported by UNFPA, is designed to address the reproductive health needs of populations in the earliest phases of emergencies in order to: prevent and respond to sexual violence; prevent excess newborn and mother illness and death; reduce HIV transmission; and plan for comprehensive reproductive health services. UNFPA helps to strengthen countries' ability to respond effectively to a humanitarian situation with a focus on the integration of the Minimum Initial Service Package for Reproductive Health into national emergency preparedness plans. In addition, UNFPA aims to strengthen the capacity of coordinators in the region as trainers and support trained national institutions in advocating for the inclusion of the programme into national contingency plans.

UNFPA’s ‘Second generation humanitarian strategy’, approved in January 2012, aims to strengthen preparedness, response and recovery in crisis situations. As part of this strategy, in an emergency humanitarian situation UNFPA is committed to: facilitating the provision of Minimum Initial Service Package for Reproductive Health (MISP) and effective coordination of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) in humanitarian programmes; ensuring reliable data collection, analysis and utilization before, during and after humanitarian emergencies; and expanding programmes that address, gender (equality and mainstreaming) and gender-based violence in humanitarian crisis situations.

Final report from the 2nd EECA Inter-Agency Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Health in Crisis.