16 Days: SPRINTing Towards Change - Sex and Pregnancy in Emergencies

Crises, whether human-induced or caused by natural hazards, can inflict untold suffering and hardship, particularly on women and girls who are more vulnerable to rape and other forms of gender-based violence. It is estimated that tens of thousands of women and girls are subjected to sexual assault in conflict situations each year around the world. Problems related to sexual and reproductive health are the leading cause of death and ill health globally for women of childbearing age. In crises, this vulnerability increases, while access to services decreases. 

The SPRINT Initiative* is a collaboration between IPPF, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and other national and international partners that aims to improve health outcomes of crisis-affected populations by reducing preventable sexual and reproductive ill health, disability and death. Since its inception in December 2007, SPRINT has supported the implementation of sexual and reproductive health services in crisis-affected settings in the East and Southeast Asia and Pacific Region, South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Caribbean.

The SPRINT Initiative provides one of the most important aspects of assistance that is often forgotten when disaster and conflicts strike. SPRINT is delivering practical solutions for girls and women, training humanitarian workers to deal with pregnancy, childbirth, reproductive health, and the aftermath of rape and violence. The Initiative also engages in political processes, working towards raising awareness, strengthening coordination, and building capacities to provide sexual and reproductive health services in crises. SPRINT is practical, effective, and it saves lives.

SPRINT has trained thousands of programme coordinators and healthcare managers from all parts of the globe to implement life-saving sexual and reproductive health services using the SPRINT curriculum; supported emergency response efforts at the onset of natural disasters and conflict in some 32 crises; and supported national governments in 23 countries to adapt policies ensuring the delivery of sexual and reproductive health services in emergencies. It successfully bridges the increasingly narrow divide between development and humanitarian activities in support of consistent and good quality sexual and reproductive health services. Moving forward, IPPF will continue to build on the success of SPRINT, bringing us closer to ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health services – and fully realized rights – for all.

Click here to read more about the sexual and reproductive health needs in emergency situations, such as conflict or natural disaster, and the SPRINT Initiative's successes over the last five years.

* SPRINT = Sexual and reproductive health PRogramme IN humaniTarian settings


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16 Days: PROFAMILIA's Dr. Ramirez Heals the Pain of the Soul

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