It is "critical" to address needs of pregnant Pakistanis: UNFPA

09:19, August 19, 2010      

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As rains continue to threaten Pakistan's flood-ravaged areas, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Wednesday said it is "critical" to address the special needs of pregnant women who have been displaced by the disaster in the country.

Over 15.4 million Pakistanis have been affected by recent floods, including an estimated 1.5 million women of childbearing age in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, stated UNFPA in a press release.

Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of UNFPA, highlighted the dire situation facing the 52,500 Pakistani women that are expected to give birth in the next three months.

"Women have special needs because they continue to give birth, regardless of the dangers surrounding them, and require timely medical care to ensure a safe delivery," she said.

According to the UN Fund, more than 9,000 women will require surgical procedures to address pregnancy-related complications in the immediate future.

As part of its emergency response, UNFPA has provided reproductive health medicines, women's hygiene kits, newborn kits and clean delivery kits to serve thousands of women in need -- an additional 2,000 birthing kits were contributed by the government of Australia.

Meanwhile, the Fund estimates a shortfall of 8.8 million U.S. dollars for the next three months for efforts to meet basic reproductive health needs of the affected population.

Within the flood-stricken provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab, UNFPA is currently supporting 13 government health facilities and is conducting an analysis in the area of gender throughout the country.

"Millions of Pakistanis are suffering from this disaster and they need international solidarity," said Obaid.

The United Nations launched an appeal of 460 million U.S. dollars last week to provide assistance to those impacted by the devastating floods. According to UN spokesman Martin Nesirky on Wednesday, "rains could continue for another month."

Source: Xinhua


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