UPI reported 31 January that, of the 3 million people affected by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti, and the aftershocks that continued as recently as 20 January, an estimated 63,000 are pregnant women. UNFPA has spearheaded efforts to help minimize the risks women in Haiti face. Read: UPI
Associated Press reported 29 January that Marcela Suazo, regional director of the Latin America and Caribbean office of UNFPA said Haiti's maternal mortality rate - already by far the highest in the Western Hemisphere - is expected to jump this year because more pregnant women lack adequate food and health care and are stressed by the earthquake and its aftermath. Read: Associated Press
LATIN AMERICA: EFE reported 26 January that Marcela Suazo, regional director of UNFPA for Latin America and Caribbean, said in an interview that women who are giving birth, are generally neglected, despite their increased vulnerability due to the disaster. Read in Spanish: EFE (1) and EFE (2)
AP reported 28 January that thousands of pregnant women in Haiti, after surviving the devastating earthquake, will give birth in the midst of tragedy and many of them will suffer birth complications, warns a UN agency. "Women and, in particular, pregnant women go unnoticed in this kind of scenario," said the regional director of UNFPA, the Honduran Marcela Suazo, in a telephone interview from her office in Panama. "It is necessary that we strengthen safe delivery care capabilities to assist all these women”. Read in Spanish: Univision,
BRUNEI: NAM News Network reported 26 January that one of UNFPA’s top priorities is protecting the lives of mothers and their newborns. UNFPA in Haiti has already supplied 18 safe delivery and reproductive health kits to still-standing hospitals, NGOs and mobile clinics with enough supplies to meet the needs of 150,000 women for three months. The kits were in a warehouse in Port-au-Prince that escaped damaged, allowing for rapid distribution of life-saving medicines, supplies and equipment for sterile deliveries, Caesarean surgeries and treatment of other reproductive health issues. Over the next few days UNFPA is delivering another 173 kits to Port-au-Prince, with the first shipment of 29. They include life-saving medicines, and supplies and equipment for sterile deliveries and obstetric emergencies, post-rape care , treatment of complications from unsafe abortions and to address other reproductive health issues such as sexually transmitted infections. Read: NAM News Network
CANADA: Canwest reported 29 January that UNFPA estimates there were 63,000 pregnant women in Haiti when the earthquake struck. Of those women, 7,000 are expected to give birth in the next month. Read: Canwest
COLOMBIA: El Pais reported 29 January that Marcela Suazo, Regional Director of the Office for Latin America and Caribbean of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund said that the rate of maternal mortality in Haiti, by far the highest in the Western hemisphere is going to rise this year because more pregnant women are short of food and care and are under stress due to the earthquake and its aftermath. Read in Spanish: El País
CUBA: Cuba Debate reported 25 January that in 2006, UNFPA reported the results of the first census in Haiti after two decades: half of the Haitian population is under 20, less than half of school-age children attend school, and unemployment stands at 33%.Read in Spanish: Cuba Debate
FRANCE: AFP reported 27 January that Before the January 12 quake, thought to have killed 150,000 people, the impoverished Caribbean nation had the highest rate of maternal mortality in the western hemisphere - 670 deaths per 100,000 births. 15 percent of births involved bleeding or other complications requiring operations, according to UNFPA, with an estimated 63,000 pregnant women among Haiti's affected population. Read: AFP and in Spanish: AFP
SPAIN: La voz de Galicia reported 27 January that looting was intensified in Port-au-Prince as the UN was alerted by the threat of street gang leaders escaped from prison, child traffickers and criminals of all kinds. The UN also called attention to some 63,000 pregnant women at risk of not receiving adequate medical care for themselves and their future children. According to the regional director of UNFPA, 7000 deliveries are expected in February in Port-au-Prince, the capital of the country which, before the earthquake, held the highest maternal mortality rate in America: 630 mothers per 100,000 live births. Read in Spanish: La voz de Galicia
SWEDEN: Göteborgs-Posten published an op-ed 27 January by Minister of Development and Aid, Gunilla Carlsson, who wrote that, even two weeks ago, it was risky to bear a child in Haiti. Women are forced to give birth under the open sky, in the dirt between demolished houses. UNFPA estimates that there are about 63,000 pregnant women among those that have been affected, and that 7,000 of them will give birth within a month. Just because a catastrophe has occurred does not mean that women will no longer give birth to children. A catastrophe does not stop men and women from having sex. It is a natural part of life. However, the risk of death for premature babies and mothers increases, as does sexual violence against women. This insight is central to aid that can and will be useful and give results. For this reason, I chose women and equality as a priority in Swedish aid when I became Minister for Aid. This is why Sweden is one of the largest contributors to UNFPA, and this is why I also initiated training in sexual and reproductive health and rights, SRHR, for the ambassadors of the Swedish Foreign Ministry, in order to increase knowledge within my own organization.
UNITED STATES: Women’s eNews reported 31 January that, while facing the loss of many staff members in the 12 January earthquake, various U.N. agencies are continuing with their efforts to reach women, and the U.N. has devised various programmes to provide food and aid directly to women, who often get outmuscled by men during disaster situations. UNFPA is working with nongovernmental organizations to distribute two kinds of kits to women: one for reproductive health and one for dignity, said Jemilah Mahmood, head of UNFPA's humanitarian response branch. Read: Women’s eNews
Women’s eNews reported 25 January that the Haiti earthquake has increased the risks for an estimated 63,000 pregnant women in Port-au-Prince, as medical facilities and supplies have been destroyed. The UNFPA is distributing delivery and 'dignity' kits to help minimize the damage. Read: Women’s eNews
SENEGAL: Prensa Latina (Latin America) reported 27 January that during the State of World Population 2009 launch in Sengal, UNFPA officer Gakuba Rosa said governments should improve their planning for climate change risk reduction, strengthen disaster preparedness and management and that women are the most affected by climate change. Read in Spanish: Prensa Latina
TANZANIA: The Guardian reported 30 January on links between climate change and population dynamics, quoting UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid’s introduction to the 2009 State of the World Population report. UNFPA country representative Julitta Onabanjo underscored the importance of assessing climate issues from a perspective that takes seriously the impact of climate change on women and their role in responding to the consequences of climate change.
Belapan reported 31 January that the Belarusian population decreased by 13 thousand people in the last year. According to the National Statistic committee on the 1 January, 2010 the population amounted to 9,480,000 people. In 2008, the population decreased by 18,000. UNFPA Programme analyst Tatyana Haplichnik, commenting on the figures said that it was expected: “There is no surprise in it. It is clear that fertility rates depend on the age structure of the population and the number of women of reproductive age. Now the contribution into fertility rates of the generation of 80’s (when the baby-boom occurred) is declining.” Read in Russian: Belapan
The Sunday News reported 31 January on a recent symposium organized by the Salaam Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences and the Harvard School of Public Health, where UNFPA presented research finding that 529,000 women continue to die every year due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth.
Afrique en Ligne reported 30 January that the United Nations Mission in Cote-d'Ivoire (ONUCI) granted CFAF 6.9 million to renovate the urban health district of Dualla, located 578 kilometres north-east of Abidjan. Parts of the health district to be rehabilitated include the maternity ward, infirmary, delivery and hospitalization rooms, pharmacy and the consultation room, according to the communique. It also said the health district had equally benefited from health-care facilities donated by UNFPA. Read: Afrique en Ligne
REPUBLIC OF CONGO (BRAZZAVILLE): Roadmap to Accelerate Reduction of Maternal and Infant Mortality Launched
Congo-site reported 30 January on the official launch by the Health Minister of the National Roadmap to Accelerate the Reduction of Maternal and Infant Mortality. Prof George Moyen, UNFPA Representative David Lawson, WHO Representative Dr. Mamadou Ball and UNICEF Representative Mme Marianne Flach attended. Mr. Lawson stressed the national maternal death rate was at 781 per 100,000 live births, beyond the African average rate. Read in French: Congo-site
The Lancet (UK) published an article 30 January reflecting on the concern that underfunded and weak health systems are impeding the achievement of the health MDGs in low-income countries, which led to the creation of a High Level Taskforce on Innovative International Financing for Health Systems in September 2008. It noted that much more work is needed by the international agencies dealing with maternal health, including WHO, UNICEF, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNFPA and the World Bank to assist countries in development of plans and strategies that rapidly deliver the interventions and services known to be cost effective in resource-poor settings. Read: The Lancet
Timor Post and Sumara Timor Lorosa’e reported 29 January that UNFPA handed over equipment to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (DOG) for assisting mothers in labor at Guido Valadares National Hospital (GVNH). During the handover event, UNFPA Representative to Timor-Leste, Pornchai Suchitta, stated UNFPA was ready to support the Ministry of Health in enhancing the development of health. “We will not close our eyes to the needs of the Government, authorities and the people of this country,” Mr. Suchitta said.
ABC Color reported 29 January that Marcela Suazo, UNFPA regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean was among the speakers at an international meeting on youth and the media. According to Ms. Suazo, young people would become more active "if they were more aware of the needs to face challenges, to jump from words to action. Opportunities must be created towards this goal, a platform, social investment from governments and civil society." So far social programmes are seen more an expense rather than a long term investment. Read in Spanish: ABC Color
Cerigua reported 29 January that the Cerigua Agency acknowledged the work, professionalism and solidarity of Nadine Gasman, who will leave office as representative of UNFPA in Guatemala and move to Panama to take charge of the United Nations Secretary-General UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign. Ileana Alamilla, director of Cerigua, honored Ms. Gasman as a tribute to her struggle for the compliance and observance of women’s human rights. Read in Spanish: Cerigua
Digital Today reported 29 January that, according to Gilka Melendez, UNFPA representative in the Dominican Republic, violence against women persists in every country in the world as a pervasive violation of human rights and one of the main obstacles for gender equality. Read in Spanish: Hoy Digital
The Globe and Mail reported 29 January that Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised maternal and child health would be Canada's “top priority” at the G8 summit in June. Many of the solutions are not expensive. A new study by UNFPA and the Guttmacher Institute, estimates that 70 per cent of the world's maternal deaths – almost 400,000 lives – could be prevented if an additional $13-billion was spent annually on health care and family-planning services. The cost would be just a few dollars per capita. “It's not rocket science,” the authors say. “What has taken so long?” Read: The Globe and Mail
Radio Netherlands reported 29 January that Wim Jansen, Deputy Director of Radio Netherlands, welcomed a group of six associate radio stations in Latin America who traveled to Holland to participate in an assessment of the production of the radio station. Mr. Jansen referred to an effort to promote youth engagement that is supported by UNFPA. Read in Spanish: Radio Netherlands
News Yemen and Al Shawa reported January 28 that UNFPA and the Charitable Social Society Welfare (CSSW) Hajja branch, signed a new work plan for implementing the second phase of the dignity kit project, the second phase for internal displaced women and girls at Hajja, Amran, and Sada’a governorates targeting more than 8,000 women and girls. In the meantime, the Director of CSSW honoured UNFPA for its efforts to protect IDPs and meet their needs. UNFPA representative Zeljka Mudrovcic emphasized the need to work to serve IDPs, especially in light of the significant rise and continued of IDPs day after day and stressed the importance of taking advantage of experiences in the previous phase of the project to avoid negative and enhance positive in the next phase. Read in Arabic: News Yemen and Al Shawa
IRIN reported 28 January that according to Sylvia Pasti, chief of child protection for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Southern Sudan office, girls on the street risk violence, including sexual violence, and trafficking for domestic work or sexual abuse, and have no access to healthcare, both generally and following rape. Dragudi Buwa, head of the UNFPA office in Southern Sudan, agreed: "There are many young girls in town - both Sudanese and from other countries - looking for work that is not readily available. Rape is very common in the city's markets." Read: IRIN
Ziarul de Garda published an interview 28 January with Boris Gâlcă, UNFPA Assistant Representative in Moldova analyzing the major demographic trends and population issues in the country. The massive migration, gender issues and human rights violations were highlighted as the most challenging problems of the Moldovan population in achieving poverty reduction and the Millennium Development Goals. It also was stated that half of the male population in Moldova die before reaching retirement age, causing great concern for the whole demographic picture of the country. Read in Romanian: Ziarul de Garda
The Nation reported 28 January that Melinda Gates, the co-founder and co-chairperson of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said she was impressed with the work of Vice President and UN Goodwill Ambassador for Safe Motherhood, Joyce Banda, for her efforts to promote maternal health in Malawi.
Daily Observer reported 28 January that the spokesperson of a four-man delegation from the Nordic parliament that visited the country under the auspices of UNFPA has expressed a need to increase grant aid coming to Liberia. The delegation was in the country to inspect some of the projects and programmes sponsored by the UNFPA, in order to see how the funds were being put to use. Upon visiting the Government of Liberia and the UNFPA-sponsored Fistula Rehabilitation and Reintegration Centre (FRRC) in Jacobs’s Town, Paynesville, Erika Georgensen said her team was impressed with the level of work being done with the small funding package her government had provided Liberia through UNFPA and other organizations. Read: Daily Observer
The Daily Observer reported 28 January that stakeholders from the government of Gambia and UNFPA gathered to review the UNFPA 2007-2011 mid-term supported country programme. The one-day forum will help both the government and UNFPA to know what has been achieved so far, the constraints and what should be done in order to overcome these challenges to achieve the goals and outcomes of the country programme. Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Reuben Mboge, UNFPA assistant representative, thanked the government of Gambia and other development partners for their unflinching support to the country programme. Read: Daily Observer
El País (Spain) and ABC reported 28 January on the open doors session, which helps disseminate information on four of the United Nations bodies, including UNFPA, and awareness of their main features and scope. Read in Spanish: El País and ABC
IRIN reported 27 January that according to UNFPA, women in Timor-Leste - the world’s newest independent nation and also Asia’s poorest – give birth to an average 6.38 children during their lifetime, one of the highest fertility rates in the world and second only to Afghanistan. Read: IRIN
Khovar and Asia Plus reported 27 January that UNFPA responded to the earthquake in Vanj, a remote mountainous district of Tajikistan. UNFPA delivered the following relief assistance: blankets and hygiene sets, 3 health kits and 10 reproductive health kits. All items were handed over to the Central District Hospital of the Vanj district. Additionally, in early January UNFPA delivered two ambulances to the Ministry of Health of Tajikistan. Read in Russian: Khovar and Asia Plus
Al Hayat, Al Jadida and Wafa reported 27 January on UNFPA’s two-day annual meeting to review its programmes in the OPT. Palestinian Minister of Health Abu Mghalli highlighted the necessity to use international funding for the health sector in the best means possible. UNFPA Deputy Representative Elke Mayrhofer said the upcoming work programme of the UNFPA will concentrate on national Palestinian priorities, such as those expressed in the Development and Reform Plan and in the Sectoral Development Plan. Read in Arabic: Wafa
El Sol de Mexico reported 27 January that according to the state population agency, assigned to the General Secretariat of Mexican Government, the population of this entity will be similar to that of three Central American countries together: El Salvador, with 7.1 million, Costa Rica, with 4.6 million, and Panama, which this year will reach 3.5 million. In sum, 15.3 million people, according to UNFPA prospects. Read in Spanish: El Sol de México
Diario Colatino reported 27 January that the First Lady of the Republic and Secretary for Social Inclusion, Vanda Pignato, inaugurated the "First National Dialogue for the Development of Youth Policy”, which will be held in 144 municipalities. This dialogue is the result of joint action between the Ministry of Social Inclusion, through the Directorate of Youth, in coordination with mayors, governors, youth networks, aid agencies and international organizations, including the Ibero-American Youth Organization (IOJ) and UNFPA. Read in Spanish: Diario Colatino
Media Asia reported 26 January that UNFPA is promoting women's rights in Thailand with a print and outdoor campaign. Creative agency Grey Bangkok has released a series of print ads and brochures designed to generate awareness of safe sex among women, especially pregnant women. The campaign promotes a positive attitude towards the use of female condoms. Interestingly, one of the print ads features two male characters illustrating that female condoms are also applicable to men. Read: Media Asia
Cocorioko reported 26 January that the new UNFPA Country Representative to Sierra Leone, Mrs. Ratidzai Ndlovu from Zimbabwe, was presented to President Koroma. In her remarks, Mrs. Ndlovu thanked the President for launching the War Victims Fund, to which UNFPA has contributed $10,000. She said UNFPA is guided by the Agenda For Change with the main focus on reproductive health, maternal mortality and morbidity, HIV/AIDS and population issues, with support to many others, including gender equality, gender-based violence, and health insurance. Read: Cokorioko
The Fiji Times reported 26 January that UNFPA supplied “dignity kits” as part of a response to evacuations in the wake of Cyclone Mick. The article reported that the authorities did not provide specific food to pregnant and lactating women in evacuation centres. A workshop identified this during discussions on gender issues.
Cameroon Tribune reported 26 January the Ministry of Women's Empowerment and the Family's focus this year will be to promote women and the family, develop the family and set up institutional reforms and a governance strategy that will fight corruption amongst women. Personnel at the Ministry have to intensify their actions this year in promoting women at the social and economic levels, protecting the rights of women and girls, while fighting violence against women, in collaboration with UNFPA. Read: Cameroon Tribune
IPS reported 26 January that a study by the Sexual and Reproductive Health Watch (OSSyR - Observatorio de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva) - a local organisation made up of academic centres and supported by UNICEF, UNFPA and PAHO - found that between 1980 and 2006 child mortality dropped by 61 percent in Argentina, while maternal deaths were reduced by 32 percent, and the maternal mortality rate has remained basically steady over the past few years. Read: IPS