UN Population Fund sends emergency safe motherhood supplies for Zimbabwe cyclone victims

News and Press Release
Originally published
Press Release POP/754 - 20000314
NEW YORK, 14 March (UNFPA) -- The United Nations Population Fund is sending more than six tonnes of life-saving emergency safe motherhood and reproductive health supplies, such as clean delivery kits and tools for handling obstetric complications, that will help about 200,000 victims of Zimbabwe's Cyclone Eline for three months. Of the total, 50,000 are women in their reproductive age and Zimbabwe's Ministry of Health and Child Welfare projects some 12,300 deliveries in affected areas during that period.

The UNFPA is also helping to pay for the repair of some of the country's cyclone-damaged district and rural clinics and sending 1.6 million iron tablets. Its relief supplies will leave Amsterdam on 16 March and reach Harare on the next day, for distribution by the Fund's Representative in Zimbabwe, Etta Tadesse.

The safe motherhood and reproductive health kits provide basic supplies needed to perform clean, safe deliveries. They include clean home delivery basic supplies, such as plastic sheeting, razor blades for cutting umbilical cords, sterile gloves and plastic aprons. Also included are health centre delivery subkits used to stabilize precarious situations, such as convulsions and bleeding; and referral level instruments used to perform caesarean sections, resuscitate babies and mothers, as well as to handle childbirth complications. The overall package also includes tools for HIV testing and blood transfusion.

Since July 1999, UNFPA has provided help in at least 10 emergencies in areas, such as Venezuela, Madagascar, Mozambique, Turkey, East Timor and, through the Russian Family Planning Association, Chechnya.

UNFPA is the largest internationally funded source of population assistance to developing countries. In its fourth programme cycle of assistance to Zimbabwe, worth some $18 million, UNFPA prioritizes the campaign against HIV/AIDS, as well as related advocacy and youth capacity-building activities, which will be carried out in many of the most affected and vulnerable districts. The Fund also seeks to increase access to and use of reproductive health services by girls, women and men.

For more information, please contact Abubakar Dungus, 212-297-5031, dungus@unfpa.org; or visit our Web site at www.unfpa.org. You may contribute to UNFPA through the U.S. Committee for the United Nations Population Fund at 220 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017, U.S.A., or by credit card on their Web site at www.unipopusa.com.