Naomi Kitahara, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative in Việt Nam (first row, left) handed over the dignity kits to Nguyễn Thị Hà, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (first row, right). — Photo courtesy of the UNFPA
HÀ NỘI — More than 2,750 dignity kits were provided to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) on Monday morning, for distribution to women at risk of gender-based violence (GBV) in the context of COVID-19.
Generally, dignity kits contain menstrual pads, bath soap, multiple pairs of underwear, detergent powder, sanitary napkins, a flashlight, toothpaste, a toothbrush, and a comb, all housed inside a backpack or easy-to-carry bucket.
The sets were handed over by Naomi Kitahara, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative in Việt Nam.
These sets will be sent to the Hải Dương Province Fatherland Front, Đông Anh District’s health centre in Hà Nội, and the Quảng Ninh Province social work centre.
This follows the UNFPA’s previous handovers of dignity kits to MoLISA to mitigate negative consequences of COVID-19 for women at risk of gender-based violence in floods-affected provinces in Việt Nam. Up to now, 16,246 women at risk of violence have received the dignity kits.
The National Study on Violence Against Women in Việt Nam in 2019 showed nearly two in three married women, or almost 63 per cent have experienced one or more forms of physical, sexual, emotional and economic violence and controlling behaviours by their husbands in their lifetime, and almost 32 per cent in the last 12 months. About 48 per cent of victims did not tell anyone about the violence they endured, and 90.4 per cent did not seek any help from public services. The productivity loss caused by violence against women was estimated at 1.81 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018.
In Việt Nam, the Peace House hotline 1900 969 680 (a shelter run by the Việt Nam Women’s Union) and the Sunshine Hotline 1800 1769 (supported by MoLISA in collaboration with UNFPA in Quảng Ninh Province in partnership with Korea International Cooperation Agency - KOICA) have received twice as many calls for help over the past months compared to the same months in previous years.
It has been reported that risks of physical abuse, as well as sexual abuse and exploitation against women and children, have increased substantially.
The dignity kit aims to safeguard the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls, mitigate the risk of gender-based violence, and protect the dignity of women and girls adversely affected by a crisis.
“UNFPA is calling on the Government and partners to prioritise sexual and reproductive health of women and girls, address high risks of gender-based violence, and respond urgently to their special needs,” said Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative in Việt Nam at the handover ceremony.
“Supporting people affected by humanitarian crises is not only the right thing but also the wise thing to do to save lives and build resilience to avoid COVID-19 from cycling back to the vulnerable people and communities around the globe. Frontline health workers must also be protected from COVID-19 and be provided with personal protective equipment to treat infected patients and continue to provide essential services,” she said. — VNS