Addressing sexual and reproductive health during emergencies

The provision of family planning (FP) commodities and counseling takes a back seat during emergencies, posing life-threatening complications to pregnant women and girls. The new program of the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF) aims to avoid this scenario by introducing local government units to the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) training course.

The initiative, a partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and funded by the Australian Aid, will strengthen the competencies of provincial leaders to implement life-saving SRH information and services during natural disasters and other public health emergencies. The pilot sites are the provinces of Catanduanes, Laguna, and Maguindanao.

Last July 30, ZFF and UNFPA rolled out the executive course on MISP for SRH to Catanduanes. The provincial leaders will be training until September 2021 to ensure that the province has the funds and an integrated system for the continuous delivery of SRH services and commodities amid disasters, pandemics, and other emergencies.

Known as the “Land of the Howling Winds,” the province of Catanduanes is frequently visited by typhoons. Last year, at least 8,000 pregnant women—20 percent of which are adolescents—lacked access to SRH services after the back-to-back typhoons Rolly and Ulysses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Women and girls are also at risk of unintended pregnancies, sexual violence, exploitation, and HIV infection during such situations.

The executive course uses a blended learning approach through asynchronous sessions and online workshops with participants from the offices of the governor, vice governor, provincial health, provincial disaster risk reduction and management, budget, social welfare and development, planning and development, and administrator.

The MISP for SRH is a set of priority activities during emergencies that prevent and manage SRH issues and help plan for comprehensive SRH services during the recovery and rehabilitation phase of an emergency response. Activities include the continued provision of FP commodities and counseling and establishing women and child-friendly health spaces. Participants will acquire the basic leadership knowledge, skills, and attitude to create a shared change agenda and more responsive plan to address the gaps in their health systems toward increasing access to SRH services.

For inquiries about the MISP for SRH program, email