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One Year After Cyclone Idai, UNFPA In Mozambique Continues To Support Government's Efforts On The Ground

PRESS RELEASE

 

Maputo, Mozambique - 14 March 2020, marks one year since Cyclone Idai made landfall in Mozambique. Subsequent flash flooding and continued high winds caused massive destruction across Sofala, Manica, Zambézia, Tete, and Inhambane provinces, affecting an estimated 1.85 million people. Since March 2019, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has supported the Government of Mozambique to provide humanitarian assistance to more than 211,000 people in response to Cyclone Idai with a focus on services for sexual and reproductive health and prevention and response to gender-based violence. 

The support provided ensured the protective and hygienic needs of women and girls, which are often overlooked in humanitarian crises, remained a top priority. From April 2019 to the end of February 2020, more than 604,000 sexual and reproductive health services were provided. “Even in times of crisis, a pregnant woman will deliver and services must be in place to ensure a safe and healthy delivery. The challenges in providing pre- and postnatal care are multiplied in a crisis and services are often not readily available, leading to unwanted pregnancies, making the availability of contraceptives even more urgent,” says Andrea Wojnar, Resident Representative, UNFPA Mozambique.

In collaboration with local partners, the Government and others, UNFPA prioritized the installation of 26 reproductive health tents in which 42,768 safe births took place and the distribution of 9,000 “dignity kits” (containing hygiene, protection, and basic personal care supplies) to the most vulnerable women and girls. 

“We are still feeling the effects of Idai as some of our services have not been fully restored,” shares Nurse Helena Siguera, who supervises nurses in the health tents supported by UNFPA. “Right after the cyclone we had to improvise services a lot and we are still having to do that because of the new rains. The needs of women don’t stop - their babies still need to be delivered safely.”

To address growing protection-related concerns, UNFPA and partners trained hundreds of activists, government representatives and community leaders, to respond to and provide support on issues related to gender-based violence, including clinical management of rape. In addition to the establishment of protection desks, UNFPA reached 123,810 persons with critical information on the prevention of gender-based violence  through 15 “women-friendly spaces” - large enclosed tents placed within the cyclone affected resettlement sites.

“While a remarkable response has been provided, we know that significant health and protection-related needs remain for girls and women. Increased investments are needed to ensure that specialized maternal and integrated sexual and reproductive health services are available,” says Ms. Wojnar.

With climate change, natural disasters are likely to become more common and more severe, and as we’ve seen, women and girls will bear the brunt of these crises. Moving forward, UNFPA - through its services, supplies and capacity building efforts - is working with the Government and other partners to be better equipped to respond to future disasters. It is only by working together, across all sectors and issue areas, that we can ensure that we are not leaving behind the vulnerable women and girls in times of crisis.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 

ABOUT UNFPA

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is the UN's reproductive health agency dealing with population issues and it is responsible for expanding the possibilities for women and young people to lead a healthy sexual and reproductive life. UNFPA works to accelerate universal access to sexual and reproductive health, including voluntary family planning and safe motherhood; and seeks the realization of rights and opportunities for young people.

UNFPA is making progress in more than 150 countries - fewer women are dying during childbirth, more unwanted pregnancies are being avoided, and younger women are having their opportunities expanded. But it is necessary to expand these efforts so that we can reach a healthy and fair world.

 

CYCLONE IDAI/UNFPA IMPACT FIGURES

SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH INTERVENTIONS:

  • 604,000 sexual and reproductive health services were provided to affected people

  • 411 sexual reproductive health kits were distributed to 49 health facilities, of which 42% were for safe and clean birth delivery and 17% for the treatment of STI. 

  • Through services such as 91,041 antenatal care consultations and the establishment of 20 basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care services, obstetric complications amongst disaster-affected pregnant women reduced by approximately 35 - 40%.

  • Of the 20,000 cases of sexually transmitted infections treated across the 49 health facilities, 39% of the patients were adolescents. 

  • 16 maternal and child health nurses were trained and traveled 209 times to hard-to-reach communities to provide SRH services to women and girls unable to access health facilities.

  • 160,000 family planning consultations took place for girls and women aged 15 - 45.

GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE INTERVENTIONS:

  • 90,679 women and girls joined activities in the 15 women-friendly spaces established by UNFPA.

  • 733 people received individual psycho-social support.

  • 323 cases of gender-based violence were counseled by social workers. Of those, 115 were cases (of women and girls) referred for specialized medical, psycho-social, and legal services.

  • 362 staff from the Sofala Provincial Directorate of Gender were trained on gender-based violence and case management.

Pictures can be accessed here.

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For more information, please contact: 

Karlina Salu, +258 84-056-0246, jsalu@unfpa.org