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UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, today launched a humanitarian appeal for $12 million USD to urgently provide life-saving sexual and reproductive health and protection services to 330,000 women, girls, and youth impacted by the humanitarian crisis in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, and the secondary impacts of COVID-19.

The agency is urging the international community to increase funding as women, girls, and young people face increased risk of gender-based violence, and increasingly restricted access to life-saving sexual and reproductive health services. Internal displacement of people by either violence or environmental disaster - including the devastating Cyclone Kenneth from 2019 - has left more than 1.3 million people in the northern provinces of Mozambique in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. 

“Cabo Delgado is experiencing the perfect storm of conflict, cyclones, COVID-19, and cholera - and women and girls are bearing the highest brunt of these crises. They continue to be on the move, with many having to flee their homes at moments’ notice without any personal items or access to services to look after their health, hygiene, or safety,” notes Andrea M. Wojnar, UNFPA Representative in Mozambique.

UNFPA is working with local authorities and partners to increase the availability of, and access to, life-saving sexual and reproductive health services, prevent and respond to gender-based violence, address COVID-19 and mitigate its secondary impacts on women and girls. 

To prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce maternal mortality, funding will be used to support temporary health centers, equip health facilities with urgent supplies and contraceptives, train medical personnel, and deploy mobile health clinics to provide remote-based care. 

Responding to the acute risk of gender-based violence, the funds will enable UNFPA to distribute female dignity kits, disseminate life-saving information on available services, and ensure continuity of centers that provide counseling, information, and support. In response to COVID-19, funding support will protect health workers, enable community surveillance, and disseminate prevention messaging, among other key activities.