Resource Roundup: Addressing Sexual, Reproductive and Maternal Health in Humanitarian Settings

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By: Kayla McGowan, Project Coordinator, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Meeting the sexual, reproductive and maternal health needs of all women—including those among the nearly 64 million people who are currently displaced worldwide due to armed conflict, natural disasters or other crises—is crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) and SDG5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls). While the global community has come together over the last two decades to better address the health needs of such vulnerable populations, more work remains to be done. All women have the right to quality sexual and reproductive health services and maternal health care—regardless of their location.

The Maternal Health Task Force has curated the following list of resources about sexual, reproductive and maternal health care in humanitarian settings:

1. Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for Reproductive Health

Developed by the Inter-agency Working Group (IAWG) on Reproductive Health in Crises and partners, the MISP tool defines a set of priority activities that must be undertaken at the start of a crisis to ensure adequate provision of reproductive health care services. The MISP outlines five objectives, which include identifying an agency to implement the priority activities, addressing sexual violence, reducing HIV transmission, averting maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity and preparing for sexual and reproductive health service integration into primary health care. 

2. Inter-Agency Reproductive Health Kits for Crisis Situations

Developed by the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) with support from IAWG, the Inter-Agency Reproductive Health Kits are a set of 12 pre-packaged kits of essential medicines and supplies that complement key objectives of the MISP. Contents include condoms for reducing HIV transmission, clean delivery kits for safe birth, intrauterine devices and medical equipment for management of miscarriage and complications of abortion.

3. Inter-agency Field Manual on Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings (Field Manual)

With insight from over 100 members of UN agencies and non-governmental organizations that constitute the IAWG, the Field Manual provides guiding principles and technical information in the following areas: MISP; assessment, monitoring and evaluation; adolescent reproductive health; family planning; maternal and newborn health; comprehensive abortion care; gender-based violence; sexually transmitted infections; and HIV. The Field Manual is available in English, French and Spanish.

4. Reproductive Health Access, Information and Services in Emergencies (RAISE) Training Materials

Based at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, the RAISE Initiative has published a number of training materials to improve reproductive health in emergency settings, including emergency obstetric and newborn care training, post-abortion care training and contraceptive services for crisis-affected settings training. The materials are available in English and French; contraceptive training materials are also available in Arabic.

5. Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings Toolkit

Created by Knowledge for Health (K4Health), this toolkit consists of general service delivery resources and information, organized into sections related to reproductive health service delivery, family planning, maternal and child health, HIV and sexually transmitted infections and gender-based violence. Resources include publications from the Women’s Refugee Commission, IAWG, Population Services Bureau, UNFPA, World Health Organization (WHO), Reproductive Health Response in Crisis Consortium, International Planned Parenthood Federation, United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), World Vision and other organizations.

6. Clinical Care for Sexual Assault Survivors Multimedia Training Tool

This multimedia tool, developed by the International Rescue Committee in collaboration with the University of California Los Angeles, provides skills based medical instruction for providers treating sexual assault survivors. Grounded in competent, compassionate and confidential care principles, the tool is designed for individuals in low-resource settings and available in English, French and Arabic.

7. UNHCR Statistics Database and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Centre for Humanitarian Data

The UNHCR Statistics Database features an interactive map documenting the number of refugees, asylum seekers, returned refugees and internally displaced and stateless individuals around the globe. This resource provides critical data, reports and other information to inform field operations in humanitarian contexts. In March 2017, OCHA will release the Centre for Humanitarian Data, which seeks to maximize access to and use of reliable, human-centered data in the humanitarian sector.

8. Sexual and Reproductive Health During Protracted Crises and Recovery | Granada Report

Deriving from the 2009 global convening of reproductive health practitioners that was led by WHO, UNFPA and the Andalusian School of Public Health, the Granada report provides important guidance for meeting reproductive health needs in times of extended or protracted crisis or during the following recovery period. The participants reached the “Granada Consensus,” outlining the following priority steps for addressing reproductive health in crises: mainstream sexual and reproductive health in all health policies and strategies; implement the MISP using sustainable methods, contextualizing and adapting its components as needed; strengthen partnerships between humanitarian and development actors to bridge service delivery and funding gaps; and support and strengthen the capacity of national and local authorities

Have you used other resources related to maternal, sexual and reproductive health in humanitarian settings? Contact us and join the conversation on social media.

Read more from the MHTF blog:

Closing the Gaps of Maternal Health in Conflict and Crisis

Restoring Reproductive Health Access for Millions in Boko Haram-Affected Areas