Access to sexual and reproductive health care is both a right and a critical need, yet in crisis situations—when vulnerabilities are drastically increased—these services are not always available or prioritized. In fact, lack of access to sexual and reproductive health care is the leading cause of death, disease and disability among displaced women and girls of reproductive age. Not surprisingly, the majority of countries with high maternal mortality rates are affected by conflict.
The Women's Refugee Commission works on innovative programming to improve the sexual and reproductive health of all persons affected by crises. Our initiatives encompass disaster risk reduction and emergency preparedness, community empowerment, new technologies and approaches, child marriage and emergency response. We identify critical gaps in sexual and reproductive health and make recommendations on solutions to better meet the needs of women and girls specifically.
We advocate for humanitarian agencies to:
• Expand access to family planning
• Improve the quality and availability of critical maternal health services
• Prevent and treat sexually transmitted infections and HIV
• Meet the reproductive health needs of adolescents
• Prevent and address gender-based violence
To ensure that lifesaving reproductive health services are in place from the very start of an emergency situation, we advocate among UN agencies, governments, donors and other organizations to ensure they are implementing the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for Reproductive Health in Crisis Situations, a set of priority practices for health care professionals. After a crisis situation stabilizes, we advocate that the full range of sexual and reproductive health services be available.
Use the drop-down menu on the left side of the page to access this program's Research and Resources, and to explore our work on particular issues in more depth.