What is Reproductive Health Kit? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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What is Reproductive Health Kit?

Posted: Jun 21, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Yinka Shokunbi Lagos

Since the news broke that some of the abducted girls and women rescued by the Joint Task Force (JTF) are pregnant, there has been huge public outcry on what the motive of some donor agencies such as the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) is in distributing reproductive health kits to these women.

UNFPA RH kit contents

UNFPA RH kit contents

Some civil society activists and religious organisations have been protesting that some donors including UNFPA have been involved in clandestine moves to procure abortion for the pregnant women; this allegation is however being repeatedly denied by UNFPA.

According to the Executive Director of the UNFPA, Professor Babatunde Oshotimehin, “There is no doubt that there is a lot of misconception on what exactly is our role inn reproductive health especially when we have been involved in donating reproductive health kits and dignity kits all over the world especially in places where there have been crisis such as we now have in Nigeria.

“A lot of people have on their minds that UNFPA is hiding behind a finger to procure abortion for any pregnant woman who says she doesn’t want her pregnancy; but we have repeatedly said that for us at UNFPA, that is not in our character or part of our DNA.

“Every woman has a right to herself and a right choose for herself whatever she wants to do especially with her sexual and reproductive health; we are however there to help protect those rights- our mission is to help every woman live and not die while making a choice to be pregnant or not”, Oshotimehin said during his recent visit to the country.

Some women in a camp with their dignity packs

Some women in a camp with their dignity packs

Explaining, Oshotimehin said, if a woman has made up her mind to terminate an unwanted pregnancy for instance, no matter what anybody might say, she would still go ahead to get the services by any means.

Said Oshotimehin, “But if in taking such a decision, she patronizes an unqualified personnel and subsequently develops complications from an unsafe procedure, we would not stand by watching and allow her to die as a result of such complications.

“We would provide a manual vacuum aspiration for instance to help a trained provider complete the evacuation already started by the quack and then misoprostol, a drug that treats postpartum bleeding due to insufficient contraction to assist the woman and thereafter, such a woman would be counseled and encouraged to take on family planning method suitable for her to prevent any more unwanted pregnancy”, Oshotimehin added.

According to the UNFPA’s manual on Inter-Agency Reproductive Health Kits for Crisis Situations, the first reproductive health kits were developed by Marie Stopes International in 1992, specifically for use during the Bosnian crisis, when thousands of women were sexually abused and there was an urgent need for appropriate medical equipment.

The Sexuality and Family Planning unit of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Regional Office for Europe then reviewed and updated these kits for a second phase in Bosnia.

In 1997, unrest in Albania led to the collapse of the health system, and maternity hospitals urgently requested basic surgical equipment to respond to the reproductive health needs of women.

A referral/surgical obstetrics kit was then designed by the Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the country, which was intended to be adapted to local situations.

A third version of the Kits was assembled by a number of agencies, including the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), UNFPA, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the World Health Organization (WHO), to respond to the refugee crisis in the Great Lakes Region of Africa in 1997.

These experiences led UNFPA to produce a consolidated set of reproductive health kits for use by humanitarian agencies.

The Reproductive kits were intended to speed up the provision of appropriate reproductive health services in emergency and refugee situations.

The Inter-Agency Reproductive Health Kits have been primarily designed to facilitate the provision of priority reproductive health services to displaced populations without medical facilities, or where medical facilities are disrupted during a crisis.

The content of these kits as explained by the Executive Director include essential drugs, supplies and equipment to be used for a limited period of time and a specific number of people.

Some of the medicines and medical devices contained in the kits may not be appropriate for all cultures and countries according to the UNFPA but then, these are described as standardized emergency kits, designed for worldwide use, pre-packed and kept ready for immediate dispatch.

The Kits are not intended as re-supply kits and, if used as such, may result in the accumulation of items and medicines which are not needed, the agency noted.

The Reproductive Health Kits are specifically designed to be handled by healthcare professionals or trained officials in time of crisis to help alleviate the sufferings of women who become pregnant as a result of rape in crisis situation or are victims of incest. They are in various designs and colour codes.

The content include: condoms, gloves, clean delivery materials, post rape treatment, oral and injectable contraception, treatments of Sexually Transmitted Infections, clinical delivery assistance, Management of miscarriage and complications of abortion, Suture of tears and vaginal examination, Vacuum extraction delivery, Blood transfusion kit and Referral level kit for reproductive health.

“Unlike the Reproductive Health Kits, dignity kits which are handed over to each rescued woman contains items like underwear, sanitary pads, a change over wrapper/dress, slippers, toiletries and such things”, said Oshotimehin.