August27, 2015: New Delhi/Dhaka: The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) through the SPRINT Initiative is providing humanitarian assistance to the flood affected people of Bangladesh with a focus on maternal and child health services.
Bangladesh has been witnessing heavy floods since the onset of monsoon. According to the situation report released by the Government’s Disaster Management Information Centre on July 28, South-Eastern districts of Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong and Bandarban are badly affected due to flash floods. The floods and ensuing landslides have resulted in the deaths of at least 33 people and caused destruction of thousands of houses, standing crops and basic infrastructure in the low-lying villages, leaving more than 200,000 stranded. Inundation of key health infrastructure like health centres and hospitals have severely hampered health services delivery in the affected areas, thereby posing a serious threat to the health and safety of people; especially women, children and adolescents.
The emerging situation suggests that the health priorities in the affected regions are ensuring access to safe water and sanitation facilities, nutrition and food safety, maternal and child health services, mental health and psychosocial support, prevention of spread of communicable diseases as well as environmental sanitation. The natural disaster has posed severe threats to accessibility and provision of reproductive services, hence IPPF-SPRINT is providing the affected population with life-saving sexual reproductive health (SRH) services.
More than a third of maternal deaths worldwide occur in crisis settings. In crisis situations, there is a lack of access to basic emergency-obstetric services and only a small proportion of deliveries are attended by skilled service providers, leading to preventable maternal and newborn morbidity.
IPPF-SPRINT, funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), will be working with IPPF-SAR (South Asia Region)’s Member Association - Family Planning Association of Bangladesh (FPAB) - to implement the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) on-ground. The MISP is a set of priority activities to be implemented during the onset of an emergency (conflict or natural disaster) to save lives and prevent illness, especially among women and girls.
“FPAB and IPPF SPRINT will work closely with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, UNFPA and other in-country stakeholders for planning, co-ordination and provision of the MISP services in the affected areas. Women and children are the most vulnerable in situations like these, hence it is of utmost importance that we reach out to them with reproductive health services, so that they can take informed decisions and we can reduce preventable maternal and child morbidity and mortality,” expressed Anjali Sen, Regional Director, IPPF-South Asia Region.
“We will be providing essential SRH services under the MISP including family planning services, child and maternal health care and HIV/STI services. Through the response, we are also planning to provide reproductive health kits to the affected population,” said Nimisha Goswami, Regional Manager, IPPF-SPRINT, SAR office.
Together with FPAB, IPPF-SPRINT will reach out to approximately 20,000 beneficiaries with these critical SRH services. An amount of USD 37,000 from SPRINT has been mobilised to provide these lifesaving SRH services for a period of 5 months starting from August, 2015.