Providing Lifesaving Care in Emergencies
Women and girl's need for reproductive health care is not suspended in crises. One-quarter of people affected by crises are women and girls aged 15-49. One in five women are likely to be pregnant and one and five of all deliveries will experience complications. In crisis settings there is also a heightened risk of early marriage, rape and sexual violence, unsafe abortions and unattended births. Transmission rates of STIs, including HIV, increase in emergencies.
During crises we work closely with our clinics on the ground to deliver life-saving care to people in need. Our mobile health clinics provide on the spot services such as STI and HIV diagnosis and treatment, short and long-acting contraception, and emergency obstetric and neonatal care.
Sexual and gender-based violence
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.
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.
IPPF has membership in over 140 countries. Our approach is to build on existing local partner capacity and skills and extend these services to crisis-affected populations. As the situation normalises after a crisis, we aim to leave behind stronger local partners and build upon the humanitarian-development nexus.
Where We Respond
The world has watched in horror and disbelief at the events unfolding in Ukraine since Russia's full scale invasion commenced on 24 February 2022. Hostilities are ongoing and civilians are under heavy bombardment in a number of cities. Nearly 8 million people have been forcibly displaced within Ukraine, and a further 7.9 million have fled the country. IPPF is working with partners on the ground in Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and Slovakia to link those fleeing the conflict with critical sexual and reproductive health services, be patient advocates, as well as providing essential items such as personal hygiene kits, menstrual hygiene products, blankets, clothes, newborn kits, and diapers.
Sudan is experiencing a complex emergency situation after clashes broke out between armed forces on 15 April 2023. Hundreds of people have been killed and over 5,100 injured since the fighting began, according to the Federal Ministry of Health. The number of people displaced inside Sudan has more than doubled. Displaced people have been recorded in 15 out of the country’s 18 states. In addition, 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.
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.