UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund
One year after Ebola’s end, Sierra Leone's midwives help mend health system


Midwifery students listen to a fetal heartbeat. A new generation of midwives will shore up reproductive health care in Ebola-ravaged Sierra Leone. © Olivia Acland, United Nations

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone – The horrific Ebola outbreak in West Africa came to an end one year ago. The crisis left over 3,900 Sierra Leoneans dead and health systems in disarray – yet the true toll of the epidemic has been even higher.

Disruptions in reproductive health care, and widespread fears about getting infected by health personnel, left thousands of women and girls without maternal health and family planning services.

Monday, June 19, 2017 10:36:40 PM

Contraceptives a game changer for crisis-affected women in northern Nigeria


Access to contraceptives helped Hajja Fati finish her education. © UNFPA Nigeria/Kori Habib

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria – Despite the recent return of dozens of girls abducted by the insurgent group Boko Haram, the crisis in northern Nigeria remains acute, with mass movements  of civilian populations within the country and over the border.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 3:45:55 PM

For many women in Ukraine, escape from conflict not an escape from violence


UNFPA mobile teams have reached thousands of survivors of gender-based violence in Ukraine. © UNFPA/Maks Levin

IZIUM, Ukraine – Things started to fall apart for Mariana* when she was forced to flee fighting in the Donetsk region in 2016. She and her father camped on the doorsteps of social services centres until they managed to find shelter. Then, shortly afterward, her father was diagnosed with a severe tuberculosis infection.

“He was sent to a TB clinic,” said psychologist Olga Shapoval. “Mariana went along with her father.”

Wednesday, June 07, 2017 1:14:36 PM

Getting refugees and migrants to prioritize their reproductive health


Health workers in Serbia receive UNFPA-provided medical supplies. UNFPA is supporting sexual and reproductive health care for refugees and migrants, but many women are not prioritizing their health. © UNFPA

SID, Serbia – Aliah*, a 28-year-old woman from Afghanistan, took an unusually brave step in April: She spoke with candour about her sexual and reproductive health needs at a workshop in Sid, a town in north-western Serbia.

“I am happy that we have a gynaecologist available,” she explained.

Friday, June 02, 2017 1:25:25 PM

Betou medical staff work around the clock to serve village of refugees


The medical centre handles an assortment of issues, from maternal care to abuse. "There is a lot of domestic violence within the camp," said Adorable, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. © UNFPA

BETOU, Republic of the Congo – “Some months we have more than 145 births at the centre – a lot, considering that we only are six midwives working here,” said Solange, a midwife at a medical centre in Betou, a village in north-eastern Republic of the Congo that is crowded with refugees from neighbouring countries.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 3:43:20 PM

Counsellors reach out to Kachin communities to end gender violence


The staff at the Women's and Girls' Centre in Waing Maw, in Myanmar, are working with communities to stop gender-based violence. © UNFPA/Yenny Gamming

WAING MAW, Myanmar – “We should not have to live in fear of violence just because we are women,” Khaung Nan declared in Waing Maw, a town in Myanmar’s battle-worn Kachin State.

Ms. Khaung Nan works at the Waing Maw Women’s and Girls’ Centre, one of eight such centres in the area. These UNFPA-supported facilities provide counselling, legal assistance, transport to hospitals, and other care for survivors of abuse.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 2:19:12 PM

Fistula, a preventable birth injury, afflicts most vulnerable women and girls


Women attend a fistula repair camp in Aweil, South Sudan. The conflict has disrupted access to life-saving reproductive health care, including treatment for obstetric fistula. © UNFPA South Sudan

WAU, South Sudan – Childbirth is supposed to be a joyous occasion. But for the most vulnerable women and girls, it can be anything but.

Alexina Myambero Stimela knows this from experience. A nurse and midwife from Zambia, she was deployed to South Sudan as a United Nations Volunteer working with UNFPA. In 2013, while she was working the Rumbek Teaching Hospital, she encountered a young teenager, about 13 or 14 years old, who was suffering from a prolonged, obstructed labour.

Monday, May 22, 2017 9:35:57 PM

After 46 years of suffering, fistula survivor finds relief


Nurse Lydia Kasiya speaks with obstetric fistula survivor Nachilango Bisolomo at Monkey-bay Community Hospital. © UNFPA Malawi/Henry Chimbali

MANGOCHI DISTRICT, Malawi – A phone call changed Nachilango Bisolomo’s life.

For 46 years, she had suffered from an obstetric fistula, a stigmatizing injury caused by childbirth complications. Fistula causes incontinence and can also lead to infections, chronic pain and other problems.

“Everywhere I sat, I left a mark, and people would come to see, and talk so much about my condition. I was helpless and could not do anything about this,” she told UNFPA.

Friday, May 19, 2017 8:53:36 PM

Young people call for education, health care, rights – and politicians are listening


Young people face myriad barriers to realizing their human rights, including poor access to education and health care. And girls are especially vulnerable, facing discrimination, violence and high rates of early pregnancy. © UNFPA

MONROVIA, Liberia – Life is not often easy for Liberia’s young people. It has been 14 years since the end of a brutal civil war, but in many ways communities are still reeling. Poverty is rampant, school enrolment rates are low and adolescent pregnancy rates are some of the highest in the world.

But with politicians gearing up for an election, youth leaders have found an opportunity to demand action.

And officials are listening.

Friday, May 19, 2017 12:04:45 PM

Investments in male condoms save lives, make economic gains for countries


UNITED NATIONS, New York - Increasing investments in procuring and distributing male condoms provides a significant economic returns for countries with scarce resources, a new study finds. The study, written by experts from UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and Avenir Health, shows that, in addition to meeting a human right, additional funding for male condoms is a smart investment.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 12:04:15 PM


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