Supporting Access to Family Planning and Post-Abortion Care in Emergencies

Supporting Access to Family Planning and Post-Abortion Care in Emergencies

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In line with CARE’s commitment to the needs and rights of women and girls, SAFPAC integrates essential sexual and reproductive health services into new and ongoing humanitarian emergencies, emphasizing access to family planning and post-abortion care.
In displaced populations, approximately four percent of the total population may be pregnant, which means in a population of 100,000 people, 4,000 women will be pregnant in one year.1 Approximately 15 percent of those pregnancies will end in a serious, potentially life-threatening complication requiring medical intervention. 

Furthermore, women and their partners may wish to prevent unwanted pregnancy during this time of conflict and upheaval. Women also face an acute increase in violence against them during crisis when social systems are destroyed and sexual violence is often used as a weapon of war. Evidence shows that without family planning, women who need safe abortion must often rely upon unskilled providers who conduct their work in ill-equipped and unhygienic conditions. UNFPA estimates that 25 to 50 percent of maternal deaths in refugee settings are due to complications of unsafe abortion. Through SAFPAC, CARE is tackling these issues and related sexual and reproductive health problems, aiming ultimately to reduce both unintended pregnancies and deaths from unsafe abortion in acute emergencies and chronically crisis-affected countries.2

There are three basic components to CARE’s SAFPAC implementation approach: Build organizational structures and processes that integrate sexual and reproductive health strategies and best practices in all our humanitarian responses. Strengthen clinical and counseling services and the health systems that support them in crisis-affected countries. Mobilize and support communities, women and their families to decrease barriers and improve access to sexual and reproductive health services.

SAFPAC focuses on three countries with critical needs: the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Chad and Pakistan; and works to directly benefit women in these countries, and other countries in crisis. SAFPAC also will set new standards for emergency response, as the program develops good practices and works with others to advocate for high-quality family planning, post-abortion care, and other important sexual and reproductive health services in all emergency humanitarian responses.

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1 Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, Minimal Initial Service Package (MISP) for

Reproductive Health in Crisis Situations: A Distance Learning Module, 2011

2 UNFPA (1999). Reproductive health for refugees and displaced persons. State of World Population