Family Health Association of Iran and IPPF have mobilized SRH services for communities affected by floods in Iran
Iran, 06 June 2019: Unprecedented rainfall in March 2019 caused massive flooding in different regions across Iran, especially in Golestan, Mazandaran, North Khorasan, Kohgiluyeh and Buyer Ahmad, Kermanshah, Khuzestan, Semnan, Ilam, Lorestan and Hamedan provinces. Twenty-six provinces of Iran have been ravaged by record breaking rainfall and flash floods, which has affected more than 4,400 villages across the country. As per the official reports, over 76 people have lost their lives, 1,140 people have been injured and more than 2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
It is estimated that about 3,65,000 people have been displaced because of the flooding and over 2,70,000 people have been living in emergency or temporary shelters. Out of the 2 million people in need of immediate assistance, about 5,00,000 are women of reproductive age who have specific health needs; this includes an estimated 7,125 women who are currently pregnant.
Under the leadership of The National Disaster Management Organization (NDMO) of Government of Iran with the operational efforts of the Iranian Red Crescent (IRCS) and other agencies are responding to the flood crisis and its aftermath. Military assets have also been utilized in various search and rescue operations within affected areas. Any form of humanitarian crisis increase the vulnerability of women and girls by creating barriers to access reproductive and maternal health services, and therefore amidst all the response there is still a high unmet need for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. Overlooking sexual and reproductive health needs during conflicts, natural disasters and other emergencies, can have staggering consequences. Pregnant women risk life-threatening complications without access to reproductive health services. Without access to family planning, women and girls stand the risk of being exposed to unwanted pregnancies in perilous conditions. Women and young people also become more vulnerable to sexual violence, exploitation and HIV infection with the hygiene needs of women and girls often neglected.
Hence in order to provide the necessary SRH services to the affected community, Family Health Association of Iran (FHAI) with the support of International Planned Parenthood Federation South Asia Region (IPPF SAR), collaborated with Mehrafarin Javanan NGO and Deputy Governor of Golestan, The vice presidency for women and family affairs ,social and cultural affairs of Golestan province, women and family of Golestan province, Health deputy of Golestan province, Welfare Organization of Gonbad-Kavoos district, Community of medical to launch a relief program in Golestan, which will run till July 2019.
The floods have caused heavy infrastructure damages, hence there will be a need for redevelopment of several homes, schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, etc. that have been either demolished or heavily affected. The need for the basic amenities like medical supplies, drinking water, food and proper sanitation is critical in order to avoid outbreak of any diseases. Several people who have been directly affected are in need for refuge and rehabilitation facilities in order to restore their lives.
As a part of this response and relief initiative, FHA Iran is providing services through mobile clinic, distribution of dignity kits to the affected population, primarily pregnant and lactating women, young women and adolescent girls At this medical clinic FHA Iran is providing prenatal care and delivery support, referral for emergency obstetric care to government services, syndromic management of sexually transmitted infections, condom provision and HIV counselling. The team on site consists of medical doctor, a psychologist and midwife along with the FHA Iran team which is led by Ms. Zahra Fathi, Executive Director, FHA Iran.
Speaking about the need of providing SRH services during crisis, Ms. Zahra Fathi said “Women and children have suffered most in the devastating floods that swept through the country. Some affected women who had reproductive health needs said that we just received reproductive health services but after the mobile clinics started working in flood affected area they have the chance to receive both consulting services and reproductive health services from medical doctor, psychologist and midwife”
FHA provided SRH need of the affected populations through direct service delivery provided by their medical health mobile clinic in target site, distribution of dignity and clean delivery kits, referrals, community awareness and coordination.
FHA Iran has always played a leading role in providing SRH services in the country, especially for the marginalized groups and during crisis periods. FHA Iran a member association (MA) of IPPF collaborates with like-minded organisations during crises to deliver life-saving care to people in need.