UNFPA warns of devastating impact of war on Ukrainian women and girls
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has warned that the lives of pregnant women in Ukraine are in danger as thousands of them do not have access to essential services following persistent attacks on hospitals, roads and energy infrastructure.
Around 195,000 babies were born in Ukraine in 2022 amid the chaos of war. Many expectant mothers were forced to give birth in basements and bomb shelters in dire conditions.
The human rights group, formerly known as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, says it is working with partners to deliver reproductive health supplies, medicine and equipment to hospitals and mobile teams, covering the immediate reproductive health needs of 7.2 million people.
The fund says it operates 20 mobile clinics with its partners to support access to reproductive health services, including maternal health and family planning, in some of the hardest-to-reach areas, and plans to increase this number this year.
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According to its research, over a third of all births in Ukraine in 2022 – some 68,500 – were delivered at one of its 51 supported maternity facilities.
The group says the war, and the mass displacement it has caused, have increased women and girls’ risks of violence – including sexual violence – exploitation and abuse.
In response, more than 120,000 people have received gender-based violence assistance and referrals through UNFPA-supported protection services in Ukraine over the last year.
The fund is calling for €99 million to provide life-saving reproductive health and protection services in Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and other neighbouring refugee-hosting countries and has called on governments and donors to sustain and increase funding.