'SRH, GBV services should stay the course'

Kathmandu, April 30

As Nepal this week marked one year since the devastating earthquake, restoring the dignity of women and girls affected by the disaster, ensuring their access to sexual and reproductive health and preventing gender-based violence should continue, said the United Nations Population Fund.

Around 60,000 people were still living in displacement sites as of March and women in 37 percent of those sites still lack SRH services such as availability of family planning methods, treatment of sexually transmitted infections and post-rape kits, the UN agency said in its “Dignity First: Nepal Earthquake One Year Report” released today.

The report (April 2015-April 2016) is about the services and support provided to earthquake-affected people, particularly to address SRH needs of women and girls as well as to prevent and respond to GBV. “As many as 91 percent of the displacement sites did not have adequate lighting at nighttime till March, resulting in an increased risk of GBV as well as women and girls living in 50 percent of the sites neither have no access to feminine hygiene materials nor have any kind of referral system for violence.”

There is still a significant need for SRH and GBV services and the present funding gap has to be plugged to address this situation, UNFPA said, adding that the upcoming monsoon season will present a challenge to the delivery of SRH and GBV services to meet the needs of women, adolescents and youth.

It said that the agency is still implementing key activities related to the post-earthquake response in selected districts, focusing on disaster risk reduction, capacity building on areas related to Minimum Initial Service Package, GBV response through clinical management of rape and providing services through female-friendly spaces. MISP is a series of crucial actions required to respond to reproductive health needs at the onset of every humanitarian crisis, according to the agency.

“Additional funds would need to be raised to fully implement the transition plan put together as part of the recovery phase,” the report said. In coordination with the government and through generous contributions from donors in some areas, the UN Population Fund provided technical and financial assistance to establish 132 reproductive health camps, distribute over 56,000 dignity kits, set up 80 maternity units as well as create 14 FFS and transition homes each across the 14 most-affected districts in the last one year, it added.

So far 104,740 earthquake affected (85 percent women and adolescent girls) have been reached with SRH and GBV services and 143,686 estimated populations with emergency reproductive health kits (drugs and supplies) and medical equipment, UNFPA said, adding that 261 health service providers and 491 young people (56 percent girls) were trained on CMR and as trainers on adolescent sexual and reproductive health respectively.