April 10, 2015: Kuala Lumpur: The SPRINT Initiative, through the International Planned Parenthood Federation-East & South East Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF ESEAOR), is providing key sexual and reproductive health services (SRH) in Vanuatu in the wake of Cyclone Pam.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam is regarded as the worst natural disaster in the history of Vanuatu, with around 166,000 people, more than half of Vanuatu’s population, affected. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), around 90% of Vanuatu’s infrastructure has been badly damaged, including the main hospital in Port Villa, leaving pregnant women at a great risk. UNFPA estimates that there are over 55,000 women of reproductive age who have been affected by Cyclone Pam, and nearly 7000 of these are pregnant.
Through this response, funded by the Australian Government and IPPF-ESEAOR, SPRINT and IPPF ESEAOR Member Association, Vanuatu Family Health Association (VFHA) will work together with various stakeholders to set up clinics in the affected areas. These clinics will offer health check-ups, safe delivery and care for newborns, post-natal care to pregnant and lactating women, as well as provide comprehensive family planning and reproductive health care to women and men. SPRINT will also provide referral services and psychosocial support to the survivors of sexual and gender based violence, basic healthcare for common ailments and ensure the community is aware of these clinical services. Together VFHA and SPRINT hope to reach over 4,500 beneficiaries with these critical health services. An aid amounting to USD 54,254 will be provided to those affected for a five month period starting from April.
“Crises have severe impact on sexual and reproductive health of a community, especially the marginalised and poor. Women and children are the worst sufferers during these times when the SRH challenges faced by them are generally not prioritised and often go unaddressed. Through the SPRINT Initiative, IPPF aims to address the gap in SRH services,” said Regional Director, IPPF ESEAOR, Nora Murat.
SPRINT is implementing the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for reproductive health in Vanuatu, to minimise negative health outcomes and ensure that the most marginalised and deprived communities are provided with basic SRH services during the emergency response.
“The MISP is an integral part of the SPRINT Initiative. Implementing the MISP in its totality ensures that gender-based violence, newborn mortality and morbidity, HIV and STIs are reduced. It also provides for comprehensive SRH services to be integrated into primary health care” said Paul Gimson, Director, SPRINT Initiative.
“SPRINT’s life-saving SRH services will also include the provision of emergency obstetric and newborn care services and referrals, reproductive health medical mission in camps, delivery of dignity kits, family planning services, community awareness and the provision of syndromic treatment for sexually transmitted infections,” he added.
Through this response, SPRINT is delivering on IPPF’s mandate to reach out to and provide SRH services to the most vulnerable, neglected and hard to reach communities worldwide.