|Youth participate in a drawing competition organised during the launching ceremony of the State of World Population 2015 report. — Photo doanthanhnien.vn
HUE CITY (VNS) — The health needs of women and adolescents are too often neglected in humanitarian responses to natural disasters and conflicts around the world.
This happens even though the fact whether women and girls live or die in a crisis often depends on access to basic sexual and reproductive health services such as midwives and HIV prevention.
These are part of the findings of The State of World Population 2015 report, which was released today in Hue City in the central Thua Thien-Hue Province by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in collaboration with the Centre for the Central Youth and Adolescents and the General Office for Population and Family Planning under the health ministry.
The State of World Population 2015 report, entitled "Shelter from the Storm," shows that of the 100 million people in need of humanitarian assistance around the world today, about 26 million are women and adolescent girls in their childbearing years.
Sexual and reproductive health services critical to the health and survival of women and adolescents are scarcest at the time they are needed most, the report says. Three-fifths of the maternal deaths today occur in countries that are considered fragile because of conflict or disasters. Pregnancy and childbirth kill 507 women every day in these settings.
Protecting the health and rights of women and adolescents is not only critical to weathering the worsening storm of wars and natural disasters, but can also accelerate recovery from crises, the UNFPA report says.
The current shelters, according to the UNFPA report, are unable to protect all those who need it.
In 2014, for example, the United Nations required a record US$19.5 billion to respond to humanitarian situations around the world, but faced a record $7.5-billion shortfall, jeopardising the health and lives of millions of people.
A pathway to resilience is equitable, inclusive development that protects rights, including reproductive rights, the report says.
Addressing the event held to release the report, UNFPA Acting Representative in Viet Nam Ritsu Nacken said, "Viet Nam is one of the most hazard-prone countries in the Asia and Pacific region. With its long coastline and approximately 70% of the population living in the coastal areas and low-lying deltas, it is said to be one of the five countries in the world that are most affected by climate change. Therefore, Viet Nam needs to prepare well for responding to natural disasters effectively, while ensuring that the critical needs of women and girls are not overlooked at the onset of emergencies."
We should step up investments in prevention and preparedness to mitigate the impact of future crises, she said.
"Humanitarian response, if it's done in a way that promotes gender equality and meets everyone's needs, including the sexual and reproductive health needs of women and adolescent girls, can lay the foundation for rapid recovery and resilient development," she said. — VNS