Sexual and Reproductive Health Care in Emergency Situations Print E-mail

WHO has collaborated with a number of international partners in the development of policy, program and practice guidelines for sexual and reproductive health care in emergency situations such as conflict and displacement. Many of these guidelines are appropriate for other settings as well. 

Sexual and Reproductive Health Care in Emergency Situations

Clinical Management of Rape Survivors: A Guide to the Development of Protocols for Use in Refugee and Internally Displaced Persons Situations (2002) is an essential guide for dealing with sexual assault in the context of widespread social conflict and disruption. Intended for adaptation to local needs and conditions, this sensitive guide is written for qualified health care providers and for training and program planning purposes. Guidelines show how to equip the setting, prepare the affected person for the clinical examination, take the history, collect forensic evidence, perform the physical examination, provide treatment, and offer counseling and followup care. Sample protocols are included for obtaining consent, the use of emergency contraception, and treatment for possible exposure to STIs and HIV. Additional sectors discuss the special care of children, boys and men, pregnant women and elderly women who have been sexually assaulted. The procedures described in the manual are generally applicable to many settings beyond the extreme conditions described. 

This is also the case for the procedures reported in the publication, Reproductive Health During Conflict and Displacement (2000). Twenty-one chapters cover topics such as emergency preparedness, guiding principles, a core package of reproductive health interventions, adapting and implementing the core package in the context of local needs, and providing interventions during armed conflict. Guides to needs assessment, planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluation are included as well as special treatments of gender-based and sexual violence and their consequences. Appendices cover special topics such as the provision of emergency contraception and the selection of supplies and equipment. See also Reproductive Health in Refugee Situations: An Inter-agency Field Manual (1999), a collaborative product of WHO, UNFPA and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. 

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