The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance has contributed US$5 million to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, to provide life-saving reproductive health and protection services to more than 300,000 of the most vulnerable women and girls in Yemen over the next 12 months. Lack of funding continues to critically undermine life-saving services for women and girls in Yemen.

Yemen’s health system is in tatters, a situation exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Reproductive health services are particularly affected. An estimated 5 million women and girls of childbearing age, and 1.7 million pregnant and breastfeeding women have limited or no access to reproductive health services. Only 20 per cent of functioning health facilities provide maternal and child health services.

Displacement and the breakdown of protection mechanisms, driven by nearly seven years of conflict, have drastically increased the vulnerability of women and girls to violence and abuse.

An estimated 6.1 million women are in urgent need of protection. Violence and deprivation are also taking a toll on the psychological well-being of Yeminis. One in five people is estimated to suffer from a mental health disorder, yet mental health services remain scarce.

“The suffering of women and girls in Yemen has never been this alarming. They are faced with multiple threats of conflict, famine, and the COVID-19 pandemic, which impact them uniquely.

UNFPA’s Representative in Yemen, Mr. Nestor Owomuhangi. “We are extremely thankful to USAID for recognizing this funding gap. This latest funding will translate into more people – particularly more women and more girls – enjoying the reproductive health and protection services that they urgently need right now.”

This new funding will help UNFPA provide emergency obstetric and maternal health care in 14 hospitals and two mobile health clinics across eight governorates, targeting areas where needs are most severe.

Six women and girls’ safe spaces will be supported to provide psychosocial care, legal aid, medical services, and livelihood opportunities, while mental health services will be supported in two specialized psychiatric care centers.

UNFPA is the sole provider of essential life-saving reproductive health medicines in Yemen and leads coordination and provision of women’s reproductive health and protection services across the country. To keep reaching the most vulnerable women and girls, UNFPA requires US$100 million in 2021. To date, only 41 per cent of this funding appeal has been received.

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Tamara Boulos

Tamara Boulos

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