Almost 650,000 pregnant women in flood-affected areas require maternal health services to ensure a safe pregnancy and childbirth.
ISLAMABAD - Of the 6.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance following the monsoon rains, floods, and landslides in Pakistan, more than 1.6 million are women of childbearing age.
The government estimates that around 33 million people across the country are affected including an estimated 8.2 million women of reproductive age, said a press release on Tuesday.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that almost 650,000 pregnant women in the flood-affected areas require maternal health services to ensure a safe pregnancy and childbirth. Up to 73,000 women expected to deliver next month will need skilled birth attendants, newborn care, and support.
In addition, many women and girls are at an increased risk of gender-based violence (GBV) as almost 1 million houses have been damaged.
“Pregnancies and childbirth can’t wait for emergencies or natural disasters to be over. This is when a woman and baby are vulnerable and need the most care. The UNFPA is on the ground, working with partners, to ensure that pregnant women and new mothers continue receiving life-saving services even under the most challenging conditions,” said UNFPA Pakistan Representative Dr Bakhtior Kadirov. He said the humanitarian situation was being compounded by severe impacts on infrastructure. More than 1,000 health facilities were either partially or fully damaged in Sindh province, whereas, 198 health facilities were damaged in affected districts in Balochistan, he added. He said the damage to roads and bridges had also compromised girls’ and women’s access to health facilities.
“We will continue supporting health facilities with the equipment and human resources to be fully operational despite the challenging humanitarian conditions,” said Dr Kadirov. The UNFPA is scaling up its emergency response to provide life-saving reproductive health services and commodities, including dignity kits, for women and girls.