A year of conflict in Yemen has left an estimated 3.4 million women of reproductive age between 15 and 49 years in need of humanitarian assistance, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has reported, expressing growing concern about the situation.
Of them, nearly 500,000 are pregnant and will give birth within the next nine months. The lack of reproductive health services and supplies can result in an estimated 1,000 maternal deaths among 68,000 pregnant women who are at risk of life-threatening complications during childbirth.
“Women and girls lack access to humanitarian aid, including reproductive health services, and are therefore even more at risk of unwanted pregnancies, which, in turn, can put their lives at risk,” UNFPA Country Representative Lene K. Christiansen said in a press release, noting that the status of women and girls was already weak in Yemen prior to the conflict as gender-based violence was common at home.
To date, UNFPA has supported 38 hospitals across the country with lifesaving reproductive health equipment, medicines and supplies. Reproductive health kits containing medical and surgical supplies have benefited some 453,000 women and girls of reproductive age, helping ensure safe deliveries, including at home.
UNFPA has provided more than 100,000 dignity kits to the most vulnerable women and girls in 19 governorates in Yemen to maintain their personal and menstrual hygiene.
Through the recently launched 2016 Yemen Humanitarian Response, UNFPA has appealed for $15.6 million to ensure the continuation of sexual and reproductive health services and prevent and respond to gender-based violence.