Reproductive Health in Emergencies conference opens
20th June 2008
The Reproductive Health in Emergencies conference opened on June 18th in Kampala, Uganda, with a call for increased access to reproductive health (RH) care by refugees and internally displaced people (IDP) in conflict areas. The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, who opened the conference said many refugees and IDPs who are usually the victims of sexual violence are being left to cope on their own yet their lives have been eroded.
"This is not a normal situation. There is need to facilitate such unfortunate people so that they can be able to stay in hospital to undergo rehabilitation," said Ms Kadaga at the Speke Resort Munyonyo at the start of the three day conference. Participants include humanitarian workers and RH experts from conflict ridden areas in and outside Africa.
Ms Kadaga said the government should put in place measures such as institutionalising post traumatic care for women and young girls who have suffered sexual violence during conflicts. There are more than 12 million refugees and 24 million IDPs around the world who do not have access to sexual and RH services. In Uganda, the 20 year-old war in northern Uganda has left more than 1.7 million people internally displaces and vulnerable.
She said that RH care qualifies as a basic need that should be provided like others such as water during such times. "Particular attention has to be paid to adolescents and more particularly the girls. In conflicts, many things happen to women. The need of women should not be buried in the basics," she said. Ms Kadaga argued that it was incumbent on the government to address the RH needs of women.
Steve Kinzett, Technical Officer at the Coalition Secretariat, gave a presentation at the conference. More details to follow in the Coalition's June newsletter, due out during the first week of July.