During emergency situations and periods of displacement, reproductive health is sometimes lost in the mix of the problems that arise. However, just because other problems arise doesn’t mean that women don’t need access to health services. A woman doesn’t stop being pregnant if she becomes a refugee. Additionally, the search for durable solutions to displacement often takes years and people shouldn’t be expected to entirely put their lives on hold during a time of displacement.
For example, the Nakivale refugee settlement in Uganda (seen in the video below) is populated largely by Rwandan refugees who fled in the wake of the 1994 genocide, many of whom arrived between 1998-2002 after spending time as refugees in Tanzania. The average time spent in a protracted refugee situation is 17 years. As a result, paying attention to maternal health in emergency and protracted refugee situations is necessary.
One example of integrating maternal health and refugees come from the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), which has developed the Minimum Initial Services Package for Reproductive Health. Additionally, with funding from MHTF, WRC is advocating for integration of maternal and reproductive health into disaster risk reduction policies and working with governments to design disaster plans with reproductive health components.