In the wake of a destructive 6.4 magnitude earthquake in western Nepal in November, pregnant women and new mothers are struggling for survival without proper shelter and health care. Knowing that essential reproductive health care is often impossible to access in crisis settings, Ipas Nepal is rolling out a multifaceted response.
Immediate response efforts will be to provide women with dignity and hygiene kits that include essential toiletries and menstrual hygiene products. Ipas will also provide pregnant woman and those who have recently given birth with “winter packages” that include blankets, sleeping mats and thermoses to combat the cold.
Relentless aftershocks have crumbled houses and driven many families out of their homes to shelter in the open as the harsh winter sets in. In the region most acutely affected by the earthquake, almost 60,000 homes have been damaged or fully destroyed.
To more fully meet the basic reproductive health needs of people displaced by the earthquake, Ipas will also set up two reproductive health camps, providing family planning, maternity and newborn care, and management of sexually transmitted infections. And Ipas will also mobilize the existing expertise and local knowledge of Nepal’s extensive network of female community health volunteers to conduct door-to-door visits and community meetings that connect people with reproductive health information and referrals to needed services.
In the longer term, Ipas Nepal also plans to support the reconstruction of several health facilities to ensure people in the region have sustainable access to the health care they need.
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Survivors try to keep themselves warm outside their houses damaged by earthquake in Rukum District, northwestern Nepal, on Sunday, Nov. 5. The Nov. 3 earthquake in the mountains of northwestern Nepal killed more than 150 people and damaged or destroyed most homes. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)