In a move to ensure the safety and dignity of Dominican women and girls, in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Erika, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund’s Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean (SRO) is offering reproductive health kits to support safe birth, and in collaboration with UN Women is distributing dignity kits, which contain hygiene supplies for women and girls of reproductive age. UNFPA and partners are also working to prevent gender-based violence on the island, which is known to increase in the aftermath of disasters.
Approximately 20,000 persons in the affected areas will benefit from the supplies to be distributed through the Ministry of Health. This includes information materials and equipment and supplies for the care of pregnant women, obstetric emergencies, pregnancy complications and prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Siti Oussein, Deputy Director, UNFPA Sub Regional office for the Caribbean based in Jamaica, said “UNFPA is especially mindful of the vulnerabilities of women, adolescents and young people during disasters and wants to mitigate their exposure by ensuring access to reproductive health information and care and violence prevention for this particular group.” In addition, she noted that pregnant women, nursing mothers, and menstruating women and girls have special needs, including for hygiene supplies, like soap and sanitary napkins during emergencies. “These needs are often overlooked but are essential for the overall well-being, safety and dignity of affected populations,” she stated.
Ms. Oussein visited Dominica on the invitation of the Government to identify needs and explore possibility for assistance in the recovery phase of the disaster.
Thirteen persons died and several others were reported missing; while over 500 were left homeless in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Erika, which caused significant damage to the Eastern Caribbean country on August 27.