UNFPA reported yesterday that in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, 200,000 pregnant women now face an uncertain future, as health services struggle to provide even the most basic services, with many facilities destroyed and remaining facilities facing overcrowding, understaffing and severe shortages of the essential supplies, such as antibiotics, that are needed to protect women and their newborns from complications during and after delivery.
The breakdown of health services puts them in a precarious position. In Tacloban City, village health centres were totally destroyed and the one hospital that is still functioning is overcrowded. There are too few health personnel, as many health workers were impacted by the typhoon.
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is mobilizing resources to respond to the devastation caused by the typhoon. It is putting in place reproductive health interventions to ensure that pregnant women and mothers who have just given birth will have access to prenatal and post natal care. UNFPA is currently procuring equipment to address urgent reproductive health care needs, including maternal health, for two million people. Because approximately 40% of women in the Philippines deliver at home, clean delivery kits are being provided to partners and midwives.