20 Sep IPPF – IMAP Statement on SRH services in Humanitarian settings
Today, unprecedented numbers of people are living in a state of crisis or emergency. In 2018, it is estimated that 135.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, with conflict and natural disasters predicted to be the biggest drivers.1 Of those in need, approximately one-quarter is estimated to be women and girls of reproductive age (aged 15–49) and approximately 5 million will be pregnant.2 Globally, 60% of preventable maternal deaths take place in settings of conflict, fragility, displacement and natural disasters.
Women and girls are at an increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV, unintended pregnancy, maternal death and illness, and sexual and gender-based violence. Of all women or girls who are pregnant, at least 15% will likely experience pregnancy-related complications. If the unmet need for family planning were met, this would reduce maternal deaths by 29%. The sexual and reproductive health needs in humanitarian settings are therefore irrefutable.
Whether a humanitarian crisis or emergency is caused by conflict, political unrest, natural disaster or outbreak of disease, the needs of the affected population can be great, diverse and long lasting. These include the need for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in any humanitarian response, with consideration for the specific needs of marginalised groups and adolescents. Adolescent pregnancy (age 10–19 years) is associated with higher risk of adverse pregnancy complications compared to women aged 20–24 years of age and 90% of births to adolescents aged 15–19 years of age occur in low‑ and middle-income countries. In recognition of this, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) scaled up the delivery of SRH services provided to people in humanitarian crises from 1.3 million in 2013 to 3.2 million in 2016. IPPF has also made a commitment to Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) to reach 30 million more women with contraception (a significant contribution to the global gap of 120 million). It recognizes that many of these women and girls live in crises and fragile states and in order to meet their needs it is necessary to increase reach in those contexts.