International Medical Corps partners with ELRHA to improve reproductive health in emergencies

by Josh Harris | @jose_harris | International Medical Corps - UK
Thursday, 30 July 2015 10:37 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Over half of maternal and under-five deaths take place in settings affected by armed conflict or natural disasters. International Medical Corps and its partners Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), University Research Co., LLC, UNFPA and the Ministry of Health in DRC, funded by the Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) Programme, will conduct research in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to evaluate the effectiveness of applying an improvement approach to implement current best practices for sexual and reproductive health (SRH).

Many organisations have prioritised providing support to vulnerable women during emergencies. The Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for reproductive health in emergencies is a lifesaving interagency standard. Yet, there is a need for more evidence regarding the impact of implementing the MISP and how to transition from emergency to comprehensive SRH programming.  

International Medical Corps and its partners will study the impact of using an improvement approach to MISP and comprehensive SRH programme implementation by focusing on emergency obstetric care.  The project will take place over two years for women and communities in conflict affected areas of DRC. Learning from the research will be shared across the humanitarian sector to improve the quality of care delivered to women in emergency settings around the world.

Commenting on the project, Janet Meyers, Deputy Director Health Policy & Practice, International Medical Corps, said:

“Disasters and conflicts have devastating effects on women and girls.  Women and their families are forced to leave their homes, health services and social systems are disrupted leaving them without access to life saving sexual and reproductive health services including emergency obstetric and new born care.  This means that each year thousands of women die unnecessarily because they cannot access obstetric services. Humanitarian organisations do the very best they can in these challenging contexts but we need to learn how to be as effective possible so we can put an end to unnecessary maternal deaths.”