India releases guidelines to help girls, women in disasters

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women disasters

The Indian government and the United Nations have unveiled new guidelines to deal with the reproductive and sexual healthcare needs of girls and women during disasters. “When a disaster strikes, although the first concern is survival, other essential needs do not disappear. Women have unique health concerns, from hygiene to life-threatening complications related to pregnancy and childbirth,” said Frederika Meijer, country director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA).

Experts say during disasters, adolescent girls and women face a plethora of challenges,A? from a lack of sanitary towels during menstruation to sexual violence in relief camps and poor healthcare delivery for expectant mothers.

The Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP), designed by the UNFPA and India’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), focuses on services for expectant mothers, such as the provision of gynaecologists and obstetricians, trained midwives and sterilised delivery kits.

In the coming years, I am very confident that the MISP will become an integral part of disaster management planning in India, starting in the national capital down to the district level, said Shashidhar Reddy, vice chairperson of A?NDMA.

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