Refugee women and girls face extraordinary hardships. They endure grave risks and often brutal violence, and many are thrust into poverty. But they can also face another, more intimate, hardship, one that is seldom discussed - the effects of exile on their sexual and reproductive health.
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Around 30 teenagers aged 15 to 19 were newly infected with HIV per hour in 2017, according to a new UNICEF report. Of these, two-thirds were girls.
“This is a crisis of health as well as a crisis of agency,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “In most countries, women and girls lack access to information, to services, or even just the power to say no to unsafe sex. HIV thrives among the most vulnerable and marginalized, leaving teenage girls at the centre of the crisis.”
Girls living with disabilities often have fewer opportunities to engage with the broader world than boys. In April, UNFPA began working with the Special Olympics to create opportunities for adolescent girls to play and learn. The project will provide sports activities for both girls with disabilities and those without. The participants will also learn about their reproductive health and their human rights.
The number of AIDS-related deaths has fallen to its lowest point this century thanks to improved access to antiretroviral treatment, according to a newly released report. Yet prevention efforts are leaving the most vulnerable behind. UNFPA is working with governments and partners around the world to improve access to prevention measures, particularly for adolescents, women and key populations.
Fifty years ago, world leaders recognized family planning as a human right. Yet safe and reliable forms of contraception remain out of reach for hundreds of millions of people.
Around South Sudan, UNFPA supports programmes to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, including training social workers and health staff to sensitively and professionally meet the needs of violence survivors. At one facility, the Family Protection Centre, located in the Juba Teaching Hospital, these and other services are integrated together under one roof, helping to ensure survivors receive the full range of care available, including clinical treatment for rape, psychological first aid, counselling, legal support and other services.
Excessive bleeding after childbirth still kills around 70,000 mothers a year and currently, Oxytocin is the first-choice medication, but it must be kept cold, unlike the new drug, Carbetocin. The study, partly led, among others, by the World Health Organization ( WHO) and published on Wednesday, suggests that the new drug which can be stored at normal temperatures, could save the lives of thousands in low- and lower-middle-income countries.
Girls around the world lack basic knowledge about their sexual and reproductive health and struggle to access menstrual health supplies. Many grapple with shame and taboos surrounding menstruation. These issues undermine girls’ health and rights. Girls can be subjected to stigma or miss school due to difficulty managing their menstrual hygiene. These concerns are being addressed at this week’s Menstrual Health Management Symposium in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a €400.000 contribution (more than US$490,000) from France to support life-saving nutrition activities for Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. France's contribution will help prevent and address moderate acute malnutrition among children under five and pregnant and nursing women living in refugee settlements in Cox's Bazar.
One of the most serious complications a woman can experience in childbirth is prolonged, obstructed labour. Women who survive this condition can develop an obstetric fistula, a hole in the birth canal that leads to chronic medical problems, including pain and infection, as well as incontinence. Three years ago, the Government of Ethiopia launched a campaign to eliminate obstetric fistula by 2020. UNFPA is supporting this effort by helping to identify fistula survivors and supporting surgical repairs at hospitals in Assela, Gondar and Jimma.