Sexual Reproductive Health Interventions Key in Humanitarian Crises

A Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Specialist at the UNFPA, Anita Akumia has said adequate preparations are critical in humanitarian crises situation, which call for coordinated efforts and timely interventions. Sexual reproductive health of young girls and women are often ignored in humanitarian situations, she said, which often exposed them to several risks.

Mrs Akumia said Gender-Based Violence (GBV) including sexual abuse like rape and physical assault, usually exposed the survivors to multiple health challenges, and a multi-sectorial approach was key in crises interventions, which require coordinated efforts and resources to provide the best of care.

The SGBV Specialist in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sideline of a three- day training for stakeholders on the Minimum Initial Services Package (MISP) in humanitarian situations, said in ensuring the success of the approach, cluster approaches, coordination and partnerships were crucial during humanitarian situations.

The training seeks to expose stakeholders from Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions to humanitarian preparedness plans and how to ensure that adequate contingencies were put in place during crises.

Mrs Akumia indicated that rising floods situations and plagues of conflicts experienced in parts of the country over the years was a clear indicator that called for measures to be put in place.

This was because human lives were sacred and so quick moves were needed to harness and mobilise the required resources to save the situation. She called on the state parties to commit resources to MISP to ensure that in humanitarian crises, adequate steps were taken to support and address health issues.

Explaining the core values of the training, Mrs Akumiah said it provided collaborative relationships to make MISP work and empowered participants as coordinators to serve as campaigners in Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and in humanitarian settings.

Dr. Claudia Donkor, the National Programme Analyst for Reproductive Health and Humanitarian Assistance at UNFPA admitted that MISP was a priority in conflict and emergency response situations, and called for its implementation simultaneously as life-saving intervention during crises.

Health and lives of women and girls were largely affected in crises, which exposed them to sexual reproductive health risks including sexually transmitted infections and other health threats, she added.

To this end, she said MISP needed to be implemented simultaneously with other support services to ensure women and girls in crises situation had services that will address their urgent needs in emergency response in humanitarian settings.

The training is expected to serve as a continuous learning platform for participants and prepare coordinators to work towards the establishment of national teams to enforce policies in emergency response situations. MISP is a series of actions required to respond to reproductive health needs on the onset of humanitarian crises implementation in a coordinated manner by appropriately trained staff.

The training is being attended by staff of the Ghana Health Service, NADMO, DOVSSU, Regional Coordinating Councils and the Ghana News Agency as well as representatives of two local radio stations.

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