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Reprod Health Matters. 2008 May;16(31):93-102. doi: 10.1016/S0968-8080(08)31348-2.

The need for priority reproductive health services for displaced Iraqi women and girls.

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Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, New York NY, USA.


Disregarding reproductive health in situations of conflict or natural disaster has serious consequences, particularly for women and girls affected by the emergency. In an effort to protect the health and save the lives of women and girls in crises, international standards for five priority reproductive health activities that must be implemented at the onset of an emergency have been established for humanitarian actors: humanitarian coordination, prevention of and response to sexual violence, minimisation of HIV transmission, reduction of maternal and neonatal death and disability, and planning for comprehensive reproductive health services. The extent of implementation of these essential activities is explored in this paper in the context of refugees in Jordan fleeing the war in Iraq. Significant gaps in each area exist, particularly coordination and prevention of sexual violence and care for survivors. Recommendations for those responding to this crisis include designating a focal point to coordinate implementation of priority reproductive health services, preventing sexual exploitation and providing clinical care for survivors of sexual violence, providing emergency obstetric care for all refugees, including a 24-hour referral system, ensuring adherence to standards to prevent HIV transmission, making condoms free and available, and planning for comprehensive reproductive health services.

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