The conflict in Kyrgyzstan is spiraling out of control. Ethnic Uzbeks are fleeing their homes in Kyrgyzstan for safety while their houses are being burned. As in most conflicts around the world, this devastation is often felt by women who, while displaced, lack access to lifesaving reproductive health services. Further violence means that a country, which is already experiencing a dramatic increase in maternal mortality increase will face deterioration in quality reproductive health services.
Today markes World Humanitarian Day, a time to celebrate the efforts of men and women who work to save lives in war and natural disaster.
Though we have come a long way in recognizing the right of reproductive health for refugees, there is much to be done. Displaced populations in humanitarian settings continue to fall through the cracks, especially since food, water, and shelter are prioritized. While on the move for safety, women are particularly vulnerable to unwanted pregnancy, death during childbirth, sexual violence and STIs.
31 people have died from swine flu-multiply that
by 17,290 and you come close to the 536,000 pregnant women who die every year
from largely preventable causes.
It is not surprising that the countries with the
highest maternal mortality are war-torn.
Perhaps best said by a woman in Eastern Congo,
"We are victims of war. We don’t take up
arms, but we, the women suffer the most."