New project to help reduce unsafe abortion death rates in disaster zones

Posted by ap507 at Nov 10, 2015 11:05 AM |
University of Leicester-led research aims to implement intervention measures for reproductive health issues in disaster-prone countries

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 10 November 2015

  • Project to help reduce the number of women falling ill or dying as a result of a miscarriage or unsafe abortion during a humanitarian crisis
  • Research taking place in areas such as Bangladesh and Pakistan which are prone to flooding or cyclones
  • Researchers aim to implement intervention protocol in 10 other countries where International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is present

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New research led by Dr Nibedita S Ray-Bennett at the University of Leicester will look into the sexual and reproductive health issues in disaster-prone areas during times of humanitarian crisis.

The project, supported by the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Innovation Programme, will explore the opportunities and challenges around reproductive health during disasters and emergencies in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The two year project will look at whether the pre-positioning of Reproductive Health Kit-8 prior to disasters such as flooding or cyclones has the potential to provide Post-abortion care (PAC) services to help reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with complications of unsafe abortions.

The research is a joint venture with Dr Fauzia Akhter Huda from the icddrb, Bangladesh; Ms Rehana Salam from the Agha Khan University in Pakistan, International Planned Parenthood Federation’s South Asia Region (IPPF-SAR), IPPF’s SPRINT Initiative (Sexual and Reproductive Health Programme in Crisis and Post Crisis Situations) and IPPF SAR Member Associations in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The team will look specifically at Reproductive Health Kit 8 supplied by the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), which is used to treat the complications arising from miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) and from unsafe induced abortion, including sepsis, incomplete evacuation and bleeding.

The kits are complementary to the Interagency Emergency Health Kit - which is designed to meet the primary health care needs of displaced populations without medical facilities.

The researchers will conduct the evaluation of the RH Kit-8 positioned by IPPF-SAR and IPPF-SAR Member Associations in Pakistan and Bangladesh which will help to reduce the number of women falling ill or dying as a result of a miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) or unsafe induced abortion, during their displacement.

Dr Nibedita S Ray-Bennett, Lecturer in Risk Management from the University of Leicester’s School of Management, said: “We feel that the success of the Reproductive Health Kit 8 is likely to be influenced by its positioning in strategic locations and with strategic agents.

“We will establish this by reviewing IPPF-SAR Member Association’s reproductive health data documented at branch levels, and by conducting a baseline survey in disaster-prone locations in Bangladesh, we shall develop an intervention protocol based on these findings which we will then implement in a ‘disaster climate’ in Bangladesh as well as in a disaster-prone locale in Pakistan to test and validate the positioning of RH kit-8 in such situation.”

“In a post-disaster phase, we will conduct end line surveys to identify reproductive health changes happened due to the positioning of RH kit-8 amongst our selected population.”

The overall objective of the research study is that the evidence gathered from this research will be used by governing bodies to inform policy and programmatic decisions for Post-abortion care (PAC) services and reproductive health issues in Bangladesh in a humanitarian crisis situation.

Dr Ray-Bennett added: “We will work closely with the consortium partners to disseminate our findings to promote communication and action amongst the target audience in the Government of Bangladesh and other relevant stakeholders.

"We will develop policy briefs for information dissemination and in collaboration with Family Planning Associations in Bangladesh and Pakistan along with IPPF-SAR will aim to implement the ‘proven intervention’ in 10 other countries.”


Notes to editors

For more information and interviews contact Dr Nibedita S Ray-Bennett at:

About the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)

IPPF has been operating for over 60 years.  It is a Federation of 152 Member Associations, working in 172 countries. It runs 65,000 service points worldwide. In 2011, those facilities delivered over 89 million sexual and reproductive health services.  IPPF strives for a world in which all women, men and young people have access to the sexual and reproductive health information and services they need; a world in which sexuality is recognized both as a natural and precious aspect of life and as a fundamental right; a world in which choices are fully respected and where stigma and discrimination have no place.

About the Innovation Programme

The Innovation Programme (IP) is an important means of achieving this vision by facilitating innovation and contributing to organizational learning across the Federation. The IP encourages and supports IPPF Member Associations (MAs) to try new approaches beyond their usual programmes of work.  The concept of innovation reflects the development and testing of novel practices that facilitate under-served populations being able to access services. MAs work in collaboration with research partners to ensure understanding of their effectiveness and document evidence of new practices.

About the SPRINT Initiative

The SPRINT Initiative managed by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and funded by Australian Government aid program (DFAT: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) is a Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) PRogrammeIN crisis and post-crisis situations. SPRINT ensures access to essential lifesaving SRH services for women, men and children in times of crises, a time when services are most needed yet are not prioritised or recognised by key humanitarian responders.

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