Contraception in emergencies
Contraception is lifesaving and a priority health service in emergencies. The 2018 Minimum Initial Services Package (MISP) for sexual and reproductive health (SRH), the global standard for SRH response in acute emergencies, includes prevention of unintended pregnancies as one of six objectives. Contraception should be made available along with other essential SRH services at the outset of every emergency response, and should be scaled up further after the acute stage of an emergency.
Safe abortion care in emergencies
Women in humanitarian settings face an increased risk of unintended pregnancies and are at a greater risk of sexual violence, but the collapse of health systems means reduced access to both contraceptives and safe abortion and post abortion care. Safe abortion care is included as one of the crucial services required to respond to reproductive health needs at the onset of humanitarian crises.
Sexual and gender-based violence in emergencies
Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), particularly against women and girls, is pervasive and exacerbated in every humanitarian emergency. Yet protection from SGBV is not treated as a priority from the earliest stages of a crisis. Girls and women who experience SGBV need urgent access to confidential and safe sexual and reproductive health services and referral pathways.
Why is SRH vital and urgent in crises?
Where We Respond
In recognition of the disproportionate impact of this latest escalation of Israeli violence towards Gaza, we call for unhindered humanitarian assistance and aid flows to all parts of Gaza. We call for the protection of all civilians, including access to medical services, in line with international humanitarian law. We echo calls for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and a path to peace with justice.
We are working in collaboration with colleagues and partners on how best to serve those caught up in the violence, to ensure health workers are safe and are able to provide and access sexual and reproductive health care without threat to life. In the coming weeks and months, our unwavering focus will be on providing humanitarian aid in the form of emergency sexual and reproductive healthcare.
Yemen Civil War
Yemen remains one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises due to violent conflict, economic collapse, recurrent natural disasters and severely disrupted public services. 21.6 million people require some form of humanitarian assistance, as 80 percent of the country’s population struggles to access food, safe drinking water and adequate health services. The impact of this is felt disproportionately by women and girls, constituting 77% of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Women and girls in Yemen already experience discriminatory societal attitudes towards economic engagement and movement.
In response to the protracted crisis, the Yemeni Association for Reproductive Health (YARH) implemented an emergency response in Sana’a and Aden to provide lifesaving SRH services, including 24/7 emergency obstetric services to IDPs and those in vulnerable settings.
Sudan is experiencing a complex emergency situation after clashes broke out between armed forces on 15 April 2023. More than 150,000 people have moved from Sudan to neighbouring Chad, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Egypt and Ethiopia. The Sudan Family Planning Association has been responding to the needs of women and girls since the first days of the clashes, providing sexual and reproductive healthcare to internally displaced people in camps, and people en route to other countries for refuge. In addition, our partner in Chad, the Association Tchadienne pour le Bien-Être Familial, has been responding to the needs of refugees.
Two years since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, there is still no clear end to the conflict in sight and the needs remain extremely high. According to OCHA, over 14.6 million people – about 40 per cent of the Ukrainian population living in Ukraine – will need humanitarian assistance in 2024. Of those, more than 3.3 million are the front-line communities in the east and the south of the country including those living in the occupied territories. About two years since the conflict erupted, ten million Ukrainians still cannot return to their homes. IPPF’s response to the Ukraine crisis has covered seven countries and involved partnerships with 17 local partners, a breadth that has been unmatched in SRHR and SGBV focused programs in the region. So far, we have reached 681,669 people with information and services.
The Climate Crisis
The climate crisis is one of the key challenges of this time. As a major healthcare provider and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights, IPPF is committed to supporting communities to adapt to the effects of the climate crisis. The impacts on SRHR can include reduced or unavailable SRHR services in areas affected by disasters, changes in women’s family planning decisions due to uncertain futures, and increased incidence of sexual and gender based violence.