MSI Reproductive Choices. Senegal. May 2021

Humanitarian aid

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    In times of crisis, the need for sexual and reproductive healthcare rises while access falls. MSI works in crisis and humanitarian settings to protect women’s health.

    In humanitarian settings, access to sexual and reproductive healthcare is essential — yet often deprioritised.

    Without healthcare such as contraception, emergency contraception, safe abortion, or post-abortion care, women are denied control of their own bodies. This puts their health, lives, and futures at even more risk.

    Becoming pregnant during crisis situations can worsen the hardships a woman is already facing and it can also be deadly: 60% of maternal deaths occur in fragile settings. Ultimately, women should have the right to reproductive choice no matter where they live or the situation surrounding them.

    That’s why MSI is stepping in.

    A female client enters an MSI clinic in Afghanistan

    Brave teams working during crisis 

    In countries such as Ethiopia and Afghanistan, MSI’s local teams are protecting access to women’s reproductive healthcare amidst conflict and war.

    In places like Pakistan, Madagascar, and Senegal, our teams are delivering care and helping build resilience for those on the frontline of the climate crisis facing natural disasters like floods and hurricanes.

    And across countries like Burkina Faso, Mali, Myanmar, and Niger, we’re supporting communities dealing with the devastation of both conflict and climate crises.

    In every humanitarian setting in the countries where MSI has established local teams, our healthcare providers are bravely on the frontlines delivering high-quality, empathetic care to anyone who needs it, maintaining dignity for women and girls.

    Distributing menstrual health kits to displaced women and girls 

    When a powerful earthquake struck in the Paktika and Khost provinces of Afghanistan in June 2022, MSI Afghanistan’s female outreach teams travelled to the affected regions and set up emergency services in informal settlements. Providing primary healthcare, reproductive healthcare, and menstrual health kits, the team protected the health and needs of women and girls facing this crisis. 

    A young Senegalese woman talks through her contraceptive options with an MSI provider. 

    Supporting survivors of sexual violence in Northern Ethiopia  

    Crisis situations often give rise to sexual and gender-based violence because of intensified social inequalities, and because rape can be used as a weapon of war. It’s crucial that survivors can access the healthcare and psycho-social support they need.

    In Northern Ethiopia, the ongoing conflict has claimed many lives and put women and girls at serious risk of sexual violence. The UN reported that thousands of women and girls have experienced sexual and gender-based violence, and with health facilities damaged or looted, many have been left without essential healthcare.

    In the conflict-affected region of Tigray, the team have gone above and beyond to remain there for women. They’ve been able to keep services running throughout the conflict, providing life-saving care including contraception, emergency contraception, and abortion care. 

    And in Amhara and Afar, MSI Ethiopia’s mobile outreach team travelled directly to the areas with displaced people, providing essential healthcare as well as counselling and specialist support for survivors.

    Delivering women-led care in Afghanistan 

    In Afghanistan, women are unable to access healthcare services delivered by male providers. MSI Afghanistan’s female providers are essential and include a team of ‘MSI Ladies’ — nurses and midwives who deliver women-led healthcare services in their local communities. 

    One of these healthcare providers is Haya. As a trained midwife, Haya provides discrete services to women in her community in northern Afghanistan, building awareness around women’s health options and delivering care. 

    In Afghanistan, women can feel restricted in what they can share on their health and relationships with male doctors, so as a woman, I wanted to help these women, particularly vulnerable women, with no other access.”

    As a community member, I’m in a good position to talk with husbands and leaders about the services available, addressing any concerns and sharing the benefits for families and communities.” 

    – Haya, MSI Lady.  

    More on MSI’s work in humanitarian settings

    We’re working towards a world where everyone can access reproductive healthcare. Keep reading for more information on our work in humanitarian settings and how you can help. 

    Afghan blur

    Delivering women-led care in Afghanistan

    For over twenty years, MSI has provided services in Afghanistan, reaching over 380,000 women every year. 

    MSI employee, Damaless

    MSI’s global impact in 2022

    Find out how we delivered access to over 80,000 people every day in 2022, including in humanitarian settings. 

    Faith_ 33 is a MSI outreach nurse_midwife (1)

    Help us protect choice in a crisis

    It only costs £6 per year to provide someone with life-changing reproductive healthcare. 

    Climate crisis impact

    Climate resilience  

    To support women and girls on the frontline of the climate crisis to adapt and be part of finding solutions, we need to offer reproductive choice.