News

“Sexual and reproductive health services are not a luxury in emergency situations”

9 April 2018

Sexual and Reproductive Health Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) in Disasters and Emergency Situations training started in Ankara.

The training sessions in association with “The Training Package on Sexual and Reproductive Health Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) in Disasters and Emergency Situations’’ and on “Gender-based Violence and Women Empowerment” a training package integrated within MISP, were held in Ankara between 9 and 13 April 2018. The training programme is financed by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and organized by the Humanitarian Aid Programme of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Turkey office.The training project focusing on service delivery about sexual and reproductive health in disasters and emergency situations aims to enhance the coordination skills of the managing personnel and health service providers who serve in Women and Girls Safe Spaces (WGSS) run by the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) various implementing partners with the aim to deliver service to Syrian refugee women. The programme focuses on the recently recruited staff of the WGSS or those who have not received such a training so far.   

Dr. Selen Örs Reyhanioğlu, Humanitarian Aid Programme Coordinator of UNFPA Turkey who made the opening remarks on the first day, thanked the participants and made a presentation about the programmes run by the UNFPA Turkey. In her presentation Ms. Reyhanioğlu especially underlined the vital importance of health service delivery concerning sexual and reproductive health in disasters and emergency situations.   

Training Content and Expectations 

Dr. Behire Özek, Reproductive Health Programme Coordinator in Humanitarian Aid Turkey Programme of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), also made a presentation during the training session. She said: “With this series of trainings designed with special focus on health services associated with sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence and women empowerment to be delivered in disasters and emergency situations, we aim to train you as service providers serving in our centres to deliver such services up to the international standards. Sexual and reproductive health services which are as much important as other essential needs such as food, water, shelter and protection especially in disasters and emergency situations play a role of great significance in the combat against harmful actions against women, namely actions that are also considered as human rights violation. It is of vital importance to be able to urgently present the needed solutions in crisis situations. During these trainings you will receive training about the services relating to sexual and reproductive health that have to be continuously delivered to relieve the suffering resulting from sexual assaults and traumas especially during the conditions of wars. You will thereby receive practical information on how to deliver health services to a woman who is about to deliver and/or to someone infected with a sexually transmitted disease.

Sustainability of Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in Crisis Situations 

Dr. Gökhan Yıldırımkaya, Reproductive Health Programme Coordinator serving in the Turkey development programme of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), also made a presentation during the event, and underlining the sustainability of services in crises, he said: “A disaster is a situation that destroys the normal routine of everyday life, consequently preventing people from having access to services easily accessible under normal circumstances. We are designing projects on how to coordinate the services quickly relating to sexual and reproductive health in crisis situations. The services to be delivered with respect to sexual and reproductive health are not a luxury in disasters and other emergencies. Stopping the services related with reproductive health solely on the grounds of the existence of a crisis cannot be a matter of discussion. In such periods we also observe an increase in actions of violence against women. Service delivery in connection with issues such as violence, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases have to be sustainably performed without problem in any case.

Projects about Gender-based Violence in Humanitarian Aid Programmes 

Bora Özbek, Gender Specialist in the UNFPA Humanitarian Aid Programme, was another participant who contributed to the event with a presentation. Defining the notion of gender at the beginning of his speech, Özbek underlined that gender-based repressions and prohibitions are actions that disregard human rights. He especially emphasized the nature of stereotyped judgements as one of the most important hindrances in the combat against gender-based violence and also informed the attendees about the types of violence. In his presentation that ran in an ambience of a warm-hearted conversation with the personnel of UNFPAWGSS, Özbek raised the awareness of the personnel about the issue.

These capacity development trainings designed to able the WGSS staff delivering health services in the centres run under the Humanitarian Aid Programme of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to deliver services at the international standards will be carried on in the future as well.


United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Women and Girls Safe Spaces (WGSS)

One in three women in the world marries before the age of 18. Unless essential and effective studies are conducted about child marriages, it is expected that the number of women who marry at a young age will reach 1.2 billion as of 2050. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Turkey Office has been offering capacity development, service provision, reproductive health services and hygiene supplies in women's health and violence against women within the scope of the Humanitarian Aid Program since 2011.

In this respect, Safe Spaces for Women and Girls (WGSS) have started to forge cooperation with various organizations. The centers established in various cities in 2017 with the support from the European Commission Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), US Government, Swedish Government and Japanese Government mainly operate in sexual and reproductive health, gender based violence, psycho-social support, empowerment and supply distribution for asylum seeker women and girls.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was established in 1969 and as the biggest aid source with international funding in the area of population operating around the world. UNFPA operates in more than 150 countries for creating policies and strategies that support sustainable development. Having started its activities on a project basis, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has been working on reproductive health, encouraging social gender equality, collecting, using and distributing data about development and humanitarian aid in Turkey since 1971. Within this framework, the first Country Program lasted from 1988 to 1992 and now the Sixth Country Program (2016-2020) is being executed.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) works to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. To this end, UNFPA focuses especially 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); 

  • SDG 3: Good health and well-being, 
  • SDG 5: Gender Equality
  • SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17: Partnerships for Goals

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