UN: 'Fundamental change needed to address women’s health in conflicts, disasters'

New York, US (PANA) - A UN report on Thursday said of the more than 100 million people in need of humanitarian aid this year due to conflict and natural disasters, 26 million are women and adolescent girls of reproductive age.

It said efforts to meet their desperate needs are seriously underfunded, and called for fundamental change in the situation.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA), in its annual State of World Population Report, entitled: "Shelter from the Storm: A transformative agenda for women and girls in a crisis-prone world," said: "One of the weakest areas of resilience currently is among women and girls, and the institutions that serve them.

"As long as inequality and inequitable access short-circuit their rights, abilities and opportunities, women and girls will remain among those most in need of humanitarian assistance and least equipped to contribute to recovery or resilience," it reported.

"The demand for humanitarian assistance has grown every year since 2011, but funding has not increased at the same pace, leaving unprecedented gaps, translating into inadequate or insufficient responses for millions of people in need," the report added.

In a foreword, UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin noted that "every day, 507 women and adolescents die from pregnancy and childbirth complications in emergency situations and in fragile States, despite the remarkable progress of the past decade to protect their health and rights".

"Together we must transform humanitarian action by placing the health and rights of women and young people at the centre of our priorities," he wrote.

The report also noted that in a fragile world, women and girls pay a disproportionate price due to discrimination and gender inequality that see them enjoying less of almost everything – income, land and other assets, access to health services, education, social networks, a political
voice, equal protection under the law, and the realization of basic human rights.

"By many measures, more countries are considered fragile than five or six years ago, leaving them more vulnerable to conflict or the effects of disasters," it stressed.

The report also called for moving sexual and reproductive health to the centre of humanitarian action, stating: "A fundamental shift is needed: away from reacting to disasters and conflicts as they unfold and sometimes linger for decades, towards prevention, preparedness and empowerment of individuals and communities to withstand and recover from them."
-0- PANA AA/SEG 3Dec2015

03 december 2015 21:05:54




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