Women and girls in Ukraine and neighboring countries need urgent support – Ukraine
New York, April 19, 2022 – Nearly two months after Russia invaded Ukraine, war continues to cause horrific suffering, destruction and displacement, taking a disproportionate toll on women and girls. Women and children make up the vast majority of the 12 million people fleeing their homes.
“War-affected women and girls in Ukraine face constant threats to their health and safety, and their needs must be prioritized,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem. “Women keep getting pregnant or giving birth during the conflict, and their access to vital health services is literally under attack in Ukraine. As health and social service facilities are shelled and shelled, and reports of rape and other forms of gender-based violence increase, UNFPA is focused on meeting the distinct needs of women and girls.
To meet the growing humanitarian needs in Ukraine, UNFPA, the United Nations Agency for Sexual and Reproductive Health, is coordinating and strengthening life-saving sexual and reproductive health services, as well as protection and response services for victims of physical and sexual violence.
Over 13 tons of reproductive health supplies have been delivered to seven hospitals in Dnipro, Kharkiv, Kyiv and Zaporizhzhya. An additional 27 tons of essential reproductive health supplies, medicines and equipment have arrived in Ukraine and will be distributed to maternity hospitals in Chernihiv, Sumy, Kherson, Mykolaiv and four other war-torn cities to meet the needs of 1.5 million people. Another 41 metric tons of reproductive health supplies are expected to arrive later in April and May. UNFPA is also distributing dignity kits with sanitary pads and other essential items to support women’s hygiene.
As women grapple with the threat of violence and reports of rape and human rights abuses mount, UNFPA is supporting 30 shelters, crisis rooms and daily care centers for displaced women and survivors of violence. Psychosocial mobile teams will be sent to 12 regions of Ukraine over the next two weeks. Composed of psychologists and social workers, the teams supported by UNFPA will provide psychosocial support to women victims of trauma or violence.
“Here in Ukraine, the needs are growing exponentially. We work closely with the government and other partners to deliver lifesaving services to women and girls, but there is still much to do. We need to reach many more people, including survivors of gender-based violence. We call for increased support to respond to this growing humanitarian crisis,” said Jaime Nadal Roig, UNFPA Representative in Ukraine.
In Moldova, which hosts some 100,000 refugees staying in the country, UNFPA signed an agreement with the National Health Insurance Company to ensure that refugees, including pregnant women and women who have given birth, have access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health. This includes essential maternal health services, such as life-saving Caesarean sections for women and newborns.
UNFPA recently delivered 10 tons of reproductive health supplies in Moldova, including for the management of obstetric emergencies, to hospitals and 41 youth-friendly health centers in the capital Chisinau and all districts of the country. To ensure that women living in host families can continue to access vital health services, UNFPA-supported service centers across the country are being expanded with “orange safe spaces” to provide family planning, counseling and referrals to war-traumatized refugees. The referral system for victims of gender-based violence, including sexual violence, has been developed on the basis of existing national systems and services in collaboration with the authorities and NGOs specialized in health, legal and social services, as well as law enforcement.
“UNFPA is working with the government of Moldova and its partners to support refugees from Ukraine,” said Nigina Abaszada, UNFPA Representative in Moldova. “It is heartbreaking to hear the stories of women who fled so quickly with so little and who fear for their future and their families. UNFPA is supporting the government to strengthen the public health system to meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of refugee women and girls and host communities and ensure uninterrupted access to health and gender-based violence services required.
As part of the United Nations appeal for Ukraine and the regional refugee response plan, UNFPA is requesting $65.6 million to meet the needs of vulnerable people, including women and girls, the elderly and people with disabilities, in Ukraine and neighboring countries. UNFPA thanks all governments that have provided support for the health and protection of women and girls.
UNFPA media contacts:
- New York: Zina Alam, [email protected], +1 929 378 9431
- Istanbul: Jens-Hagen Eschenbaecher, [email protected], +90 549 748 36 55
Photos and video available on UNFPA’s response to the Ukraine crisis. An overview of UNFPA’s response to the Ukraine crisis is available at this link.