ECONOMYNEXT – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has made an appeal for 10.7 million US dollars to deliver lifesaving healthcare to more than two million women and girls in Sri Lanka in the next six months, a UNFPA statement said.
Sri Lanka is undergoing its worst economic and financial meltdown since Independence, which has led to severe shortages in the health industry which is affecting the delivery of sexual and reproductive health services, including maternal health care and access to contraception.
A survey conducted by the UN in May 2022 outlined that, “women’s and girls’ vulnerability to violence is increasing at the same time as services including health, police, shelter, and hotlines, are declining due to a lack of financial resources.
“An estimated 215,000 women are currently pregnant, including 11,000 adolescent girls, and around 145,000 women will deliver in the next six months. Approximately 60,000 women may require access to surgical interventions.”
Sri Lanka’s economic crisis has left 6.3 million food-insecure and 6.7 million people not consuming acceptable diets, as per a World Food Programme (WFP) situation report.
In partnership with the WFP, the UNFPA is reaching beneficiaries and delivering vouchers worth 15,000 rupees intended to support pregnant women with food and other essential needs during pregnancy, presently targeting a total of 2,375 pregnant women in Colombo. Cash and voucher assistance is also being provided to pregnant and lactating women to ensure uninterrupted access to health facilities for safe pregnancy and deliveries, the statement said.
“UNFPA is providing cash and voucher assistance to pregnant women to support access to health facilities – and continues to build the capacity and skills of the extensive midwifery force across the country – but with infrastructure and transportation challenges, childbirth could be a life-threatening, if not fatal, experience for pregnant women unable to access skilled care.”
According to data gathered by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 5.7 million are in need of financial guidance in battling the economic downfall out of which 1.7 million have been targeted for guidance and 346.9K have been reached out for assistance.
The appeal proposes 10 plans to be followed by the UNFPA;
- Distribute lifesaving medicines, equipment and supplies, including for emergency and obstetric care and the clinical management of rape and domestic violence, to meet the priority reproductive health needs of 1.2 million people.
- Supply 10,000 delivery, maternity and dignity kits to women and girls in need, including persons living with disabilities.
- Provide more than 37,000 women with cash and voucher assistance to access reproductive health and protection services.
- Ensure 500,000 women receive information on warning signs during pregnancy.
- Strengthen the capacity of 1,250 midwives to support deliveries in primary health care settings, and for the clinical management of rape.
- Support 10 shelters to expand services for survivors of gender-based violence.
- Provide 286,000 women and girls with information on gender-based violence prevention, and available services and support.
- Support 12,500 women with livelihood programming to reduce the risks of gender-based violence.
- Provide 4,000 adolescent girls with menstrual hygiene supplies.
- Lead and coordinate activities to strengthen prevention, protection and referral systems for survivors of gender-based violence.