More premature births, hypertension problems during pregnancy and an increase in uterine prolapses

One year on from Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the war continues to compromise the well-being of millions of women and girls. On 24 February 2022, access to basic services across the country was affected and the standstill jeopardized women’s reproductive health in Ukraine.

The UN Population Fund in Ukraine, denounces the conditions faced by pregnant women. “During the first week 84 women gave birth in metro stations. Obviously in inappropriate conditions. Similar situations we have continued to see throughout this year”, explains Jaime Nadal, UNFPA Ukraine representative, during his visit to UNRIC.

The conflict is affecting women’s health. Health professionals and UNFPA have recorded more premature births, hypertension problems during pregnancy or non-pregnancy-related conditions such as uterine prolapse. “We are seeing conditions that affect women’s reproductive health that are extremely serious and put women’s lives at risk”, denounces Jaime Nadal.

Widespread gender-based violence

Another challenge for the humanitarian response is gender-based violence. Despite its prevalence in Ukraine, it remains underreported. “We are talking about millions of women who are being displaced to other neighbouring countries and we know that this situation leaves women vulnerable to being victims of trafficking, human trafficking and sexual violence,” explains Jaime Nadal.

During this winter, UNFPA has been providing cash assistance to women who are victims of gender-based violence or sexual assault. It is also providing mobile clinics and psychosocial support teams in hard-to-reach areas of the country. Safe spaces and online support services for survivors of gender-based violence are being expanded.

UNFPA urgently needs funding

UNFPA urgently needs funding to expand its operations in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. Most urgently, it needs to provide the country with essential medical supplies and more staff trained to save lives.

UNFPA’s funding requirement for 2023 is $99 million. This includes $70.1 million for support within Ukraine. A further $28.9 million is for refugee response, of which $21 million is for Moldova and $7.9 million is needed for other countries affected by the crisis.

“Our determination is to continue to do so. We work together with other agencies of the UN family and with civil society,” concludes Jaime Nadal on his short visit to UNRIC. He travelled to Kyiv, from where UNFPA continue to work to address the most urgent needs of people in Ukraine.

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