Women and Girls at Risk in Ukraine Emergency

Nataliia was four months pregnant when the war started in February 2022. Due to the stress of the conflict she gave birth three months early: Her fourth son, Artem, was born at Kyiv Oblast Perinatal Centre, which received emergency medical supplies from UNFPA. © UNFPA/Serhii Tymofieiev

Over 12 million people have fled their homes since the beginning of the war in Ukraine in February 2022 – half have left for neighboring countries like Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland. Over 6 million Ukrainians remain displaced.  

More than 48,000 children have been born in Ukraine since the start of the war. At the start of the war in Ukraine, 265,000 Ukrainian women were pregnant and, since then, more women and girls have certainly become pregnant. Pregnancy, childbirth, and menstruation do not stop for emergencies. These women need access to lifesaving prenatal and safe delivery care. We are on the ground delivering care so women can survive childbirth — even in a subway station, basement, bomb shelter, or refugee camp. 

Even before the war, 2 in 3 Ukrainian women had experienced violence. But now, an even greater number of Ukrainian women and girls are at risk. We are there, working to ensure women and girls’ safety and wellbeing, even as their country is under attack. 

As the humanitarian needs escalate, we need your support to reach vulnerable women and girls with lifesaving care. 

Updates on our efforts

We are supporting women and girls in by: 

  • Positioning supplies and distributing dignity kits so women and girls, including survivors of violence, have access to specialized care; 
  • Managing a national hotline where people can report violence and a virtual mental health counseling service where they can access care; 
  • Supplying over 90 tons of sexual and reproductive health resources 
  • Training over 2,000 doctors in post-rape treatment, sensitive care for survivors of violence, and mental health support. 
  • Coordinating with 10 shelters, eight crisis rooms, three daycare centers, and nine services delivery points across Ukraine so they have the support and supplies they need; 
  • Operating mobile health clinics to deliver care in areas with intense fighting or that are otherwise difficult to reach; 
  • Working across the region so those who have fled Ukraine do not lose access to care when they need it most. 

Emergency conditions in Ukraine have remained difficult since the outset of the war. The World Health Organization has confirmed over 400 attacks on Ukrainian health care facilities, including the March 11 bombing of a Ukrainian children’s hospital and maternity ward. This only means that women and girls need us now more than ever. Deliver lifesaving care to women and girls in Ukraine. Donate today. 

Our work in the region: Spotlight on Modolva

UNFPA Moldova’s Representative, Nigina Abaszadeh, spoke about what life is like for Ukrainian women and girls in refugee placement camps.

As of August 2022, UFNPA has reached 6 million people with lifesaving care. In Moldova, we have distributed more than 10,000 dignity kits to women and girls. The kits provide everything they need to manage their period, even in a time of immense uncertainty. 

To ensure women can survive childbirth, we are positioning reproductive health emergency kits, which equip a midwife with the supplies to support 45 pregnant women through safe deliveries. In addition, our mobile health clinics are able to meet the sexual and reproductive health care needs of women and girls in the hardest-to-reach areas. We continue to deliver essential medicines, supplies, and equipment for safe delivery care and obstetric emergencies.  

The stress of living through war has also led to a rise in premature births. Prenatal clinics in some regions told the BBC that since the war, the premature birthrate in Ukraine has at least doubled. Premature birth can lead to respiratory, digestive, and neurological complications for newborns. There is a rising need for incubators as a result.  

We are especially concerned about the potential for violence and are working to scale up support for survivors. Violence against women tends to increase during emergencies. UNFPA has opened a Survival Relief Center which provides medical, legal and mental health support for survivors of sexual violence. The center has served over 500 people so far, including survivors of conflict-related sexual violence. UNFPA is also now supporting over 100 mobile mental health care teams. 

Our work in Ukraine

For decades before this emergency, we worked to expand access to lifesaving sexual and reproductive health care across Ukraine. We have delivered care to girls living with disabilitieselderly women in difficult-to-reach areas, and survivors of violence. We are there for every woman and girl in Ukraine, no matter what. 

Now, as women and girls flee for safety, unsure of when or if they will be able to return home, your support is desperately needed. Pregnancy, birth, and menstruation do not stop for crises. A contribution today can ensure that pregnant women have access to prenatal and safe delivery care, even while on the move.  

Thank you for being there for every woman and girl in emergencies like the war in Ukraine, no matter what. 

Dana Kirkegaard
For the health and
dignity of women and girls

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