Focus on Vulnerable Populations

Focus on Vulnerable Populations  Focus on Vulnerable Populations

This year’s World Population Day, (July 11), focused on vulnerable populations in emergencies – particularly women and adolescents, whose specific needs are too often overlooked in humanitarian responses.

“In humanitarian situations, an estimated one in five women and adolescent girls are likely to be pregnant,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin in a statement. “As skilled birth attendance and emergency obstetric care often become unavailable, their vulnerability to death and injury is further exacerbated.”

Women and girls also face increased risks of gender-based violence, and have health and hygiene needs that are seldom prioritized. In emergencies, UNFPA works to secure their safety, dignity and health, and to empower them to better care for themselves, reports

Globally, nearly 60 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes – the highest such number ever recorded. Women and girls are especially vulnerable in these situations, facing increased risks of abuse, sexual exploitation, violence and forced marriage.

 Healthcare Everywhere

One of UNFPA’s chief roles in an emergency is to bring reproductive healthcare to women and girls – wherever they are. With partners, UNFPA supports mobile clinics, health facilities and health-staff training in crisis-affected communities. In Nepal, for example, UNFPA has organized mobile health camps to deliver care in remote earthquake-damaged areas.

Restoring reproductive healthcare means restoring access to family planning, which helps women avoid unplanned pregnancies in dire circumstances. It also means providing the full spectrum of maternal health services, from antenatal check-ups and safe delivery services to postpartum care for mothers and babies.

But women and young people are more than simply vulnerable populations. When supported, they can help their communities recover and thrive.

 “By prioritizing health, rights and the full participation of women, adolescent girls and young people in public life we increase our prospects for a more just, stable and peaceful world, “ he said.