The cyclone that has hit Fiji today has initiated an on the ground humanitarian response from the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) to ensure that pregnant women and those in need of essential reproductive and sexual health services get the support they need.
Cyclone Winston has been ravaging the Pacific islands for the last three days and is hitting Fiji today. It has grown in strength and is currently listed as Category 5 carrying gusts of up to 325 kilometres per hour. The potential for destruction is high with expected high floods, power cuts and and damage to buildings which will limit health services for those women, young people and men seeking urgent medical attention for sexual and reproductive health emergencies.
The IPPF response in Fiji and other affected islands in the Pacific will focus on boosting essential family planning; maternal and newborn care services and a special focus on Dengue transmission (and in Tonga Zika transmission). IPPF will do this through raising awareness, providing facts, dispelling myths and directing people for the right care.
Director General, Tewodros Melesse, said on hearing the news: “Our thoughts are with those affected by Cyclone Winston in Fiji and across the Pacific. It is essential that every effort is made to ensure that no pregnant mother or young person is turned away at a critical time because of the cyclone. It is important to have a coordinated and tailored response that tackles the specific needs for Fiji's people. Health services will be limited in the aftermath of the cyclone and through IPPF's Member Association in Fiji, the Reproductive and Family Health Association of Fiji (RFHAF), we will help deliver specialist services for the communities affected and those in need, regardless of their location.“
IPPF association staff in Fiji are part of the governments coordinating committee working with UN agencies, Fiji ministries and other NGO's, as part of the disaster response.
Matelita Seva, the Executive Director,Reproductive Family Health Association of Fiji said from Suva: “Our teams of nurses, medical staff and hundreds of volunteers and youth peer educators are ready to be deployed with basic stocks of supplies and are working as part of the national response. We are working very closely with the Government and Ministry of Health to ensure that services function and that people are able to get the carethey need. For pregnant women we have safe delivery kits widely available as well as dignity, hygiene and other specialist supplies fornursing mothers, young people and those who are in need. Once the storms have passed we will also have to assess the level of damage to our clinics and facilities as part of the response”.