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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO THE EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 1396-1397
Extending humanitarian assistance to displaced pregnant women in armed conflict-affected nations


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication6-Nov-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Extending humanitarian assistance to displaced pregnant women in armed conflict-affected nations. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1396-7

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Extending humanitarian assistance to displaced pregnant women in armed conflict-affected nations. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Dec 6];10:1396-7. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/5/1396/196756


Dear Sir,

Boko Haram is an extremist organization which is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people and displacement of millions of people from their home.[1] The organization is operating in many nations of Africa and has even been associated with mass abductions, kidnapping, bombings of important institutes, robbery across banks, and disruption of the routine and emergency health services.[1],[2] In fact, owing to these repeated attacks and fragile health system, despite taking multiple steps, Nigeria was one of the very few nations in which the transmission of wild poliovirus continued till very late.[3] Further, even most of the maternal and child health indicators in the affected nations lag to a great extent in comparison with the other nations.[1],[2],[3]

Moreover, most of the displaced people are living live in official and unofficial camps, with minimal medical attention and limited access to basic essentials (viz., food, clothing, shelter, clean water, and sanitary conditions), and amidst the environment of psychological and physical trauma.[2],[3] Not only that, in such camps frequent outbreaks of waterborne diseases, vaccine-preventable diseases, injuries, sexual violation, and aseptic conditions for childbirths have been reported.[2],[3],[4] However, due to the absence of trained health personnel, a major proportion of all these adverse health outcomes, including deaths are never notified to the public health authorities.[2],[3],[4]

In other words, such insurgency has emerged as an eye-opener for the national policy makers as well as the global health stakeholders to provide humanitarian assistance to the affected people.[2],[3] There is an immense need to focus on the strengthening of the health system and capacity building, as the consequences of this insurgency have been devastating and it is not acceptable to just sit and allow the situation to improve on its own.[2] The necessity of public health interventions is indispensable in the current circumstances as the affected nations have fared badly in managing the consequences, most of the health workers have also left the nations due to the constant threat to their lives or potential risk of abduction, and there is a sense of fear and panic among the local residents.[2] Moreover, the curfews imposed to tackle these emergencies make it more difficult for people to access health-care services.[1],[3]

In June 2016, another such attacks were executed on one of the towns of Niger and accounted for the displacement of more than 70,000 people, including 3,000 pregnant females and jeopardized their care during their pregnancy or during childbirths or in the postpartum period.[1] Many such pregnant women delivered during this sudden migration and have to walk for a very long distance to reach a safe location.[1],[5] In order to deal with this emergency situation, the United Nation Population Fund association in collaboration with other stakeholders has aimed to deliver sexual and reproductive health services, logistics (viz., delivery kit, blood transfusion kit, human immunodeficiency virus medications, etc.) and care of the vulnerable women.[1]

In addition, numerous dignity kits (comprising of sanitary napkins, soap, and clothes) have also been distributed to the affected women, and at the same time psychosocial assistance have also been extended to the women.[1]

To conclude, in order to avert the consequences of armed insurgency, the need of the hour is to create awareness about the existing services and extend humanitarian assistance to all the vulnerable groups of populations.

Acknowledgement

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
UNFPA. Thousands of pregnant women displaced by Boko Haram in Niger. 2016; Available from: http://www.unfpa.org/news/thousands-pregnant-women-displaced-boko-haram-niger. [Last accessed on 9 Jul 2016].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Omole O, Welye H, Abimbola S. Boko Haram insurgency: implications for public health. Lancet 2015;385:941.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Ager AK, Lembani M, Mohammed A, Mohammed Ashir G, Abdulwahab A, de Pinho H. et al. Health service resilience in Yobe state, Nigeria in the context of the Boko Haram insurgency: a systems dynamics analysis using group model building. Confl Health 2015;9:30.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Pérez Ramírez F, García-García I, Peralta-Ramírez MI. The migration process as a stress factor in pregnant immigrant women in Spain. J Transcult Nurs 2013;24:348-54.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Turan JM, Hatcher AM, Romito P, Mangone E, Durojaiye M, Odero M. et al. Intimate partner violence and forced migration during pregnancy: Structural constraints to women's agency. Glob Public Health 2016;11:153-68.  Back to cited text no. 5
    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur, Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.196756

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