Securing Sexual and Reproductive Health of drought-affected communities in the Sindh Arid Zone, Pakistan

Mother and child during medical visit

April 8, 2014 New Delhi: Thar Desert of the Province of Sindh, Pakistan is under a severe drought since November 2013 affecting several towns and their population. The resultant crop failure has further triggered a severe shortage of food fodder and water which has taken a huge toll on the population’s health, particularly children and infants. To date, almost 250,000 families have been affected by the drought according to the Sindh Provincial Authorities while the number of reported deaths is 44 women and 123 children due to the combination of chronic malnutrition and lack of access to effective health facilities in the Tharparkar district.

International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), a leading provider of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services has been responding to this humanitarian crisis through SPRINT, an emergency response project supported by the Australian Government. SPRINT has made available USD 13800 to support works of IPPF’s Member Association Rahnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan (FPAP) to help them reach the communities located in camps within the Thar Desert region with life saving services currently to a target group of 30,000 women and children.

SPRINT represents IPPF’s commitment to increasing access to SRH services for crisis-affected populations, who are among the most marginalized and extremely vulnerable people worldwide.Through the SPRINT initiative, IPPF supports the ongoing humanitarian efforts to improve conditions and access to essential services for communities affected by the severe drought in Sindh region. Working with our  Member Association, Rahnuma- Family Planning Association of Pakistan (FPAP), we hope to ensure access to life-saving sexual and reproductive health services for those in need, particularly women, children and girls," said  Anjali Sen, Regional Director for South Asia, IPPF.

50 mobile camps will be set up by Rahnuma-FPAP in the Sindh Zone to improve community nutrition especially for mothers and children, to deliver critical antenatal services including preventive treatment such as prescribing Vitamin A and iron foliate to prevent micronutrient deficiencies, providing immunization and prevention of communicable diseases as well as fulfilling family planning needs. The services will also include medical and psychosocial support for survivors of sexual and gender based violence.

SPRINT works to ensure that the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for Reproductive Health in Crises is incorporated into emergency responses to meet the SRH needs of affected communities. MISP is a global package of lifesaving measures and sexual and reproductive health services for communities especially women and girls affected by humanitarian crises.