Haiti Disaster: IPPF Provides Urgent Health Response
The International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR) and PROFAMIL, its Member Association in Haiti, are acting swiftly to help save lives by integrating family planning in emergency relief. PROFAMIL’s clinics in Port-au-Prince and Jacmel have been destroyed but staff and community health promoters are organizing mobile health units to bring basic health care, obstetric care, family planning and HIV prevention services to community-based sites, including tent cities and other temporary shelters that have been set up in and around both cities.
“Ensuring the implementation of a minimal initial service package for reproductive health will save lives if integrated into the emergency response in Haiti,” commented Carmen Barroso, Regional Director of IPPF/WHR. There are 750,000 women of reproductive age in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area and another 15,000 in the city of Jacmel on the southern coast. At this time, they have limited access to reproductive health services including emergency obstetric care. According to estimates from the Reproductive Health Response in Conflict Consortium, an estimated 10,000 women will need delivery services in the coming month, and as many as 1,500 women will need care for life threatening complications during delivery. In crises like this, women are often unable to access their usual methods of family planning and the risk of sexual violence and exploitation among women and girls increases dramatically.
IPPF/WHR is collaborating with key disaster relief networks and partners such as the United Nations and other NGOs, to ensure the most effective response to the enormous demands for medical services in Haiti. PROFAMILIA, IPPF’s Association in the Dominican Republic has deployed mobile health units across the border to Haiti, to assess areas of need and to begin providing health services. PROFAMILIA is sending rescue units consisting of doctors, nurses, and volunteers with extensive experience working with Haitian immigrants living in the Dominican Republic. They will target their support in the areas of Leogame, Matrissals, Jacmel, Petit Goave and Grand Goave which face many unmet health demands given that most relief efforts has focused on Port-au-Prince. Additionally, a team of IPPF/WHR staff is traveling to Haiti this week to support PROFAMIL as it reestablishes services.
For more than 25 years, PROFAMIL has provided low-cost, high-quality healthcare including family planning, early detection of breast and cervical cancer, pre-and-post natal services, and voluntary testing and counseling for HIV/AIDS. Its clinics, community distribution points, and mobile health units provide hundreds of thousands of sexual and reproductive healthcare services to Haitians annually.
IPPF/WHR has created a donation center on its website where secure donations can be made from any country. 100% of the money collected through this site will go towards getting all PROFAMIL’s clinics and mobile health units up and working as soon as possible.