Women in Ukraine are at greater risk of unwanted pregnancy due to lack of access to contraception and increased exposure to sexual violence, an international humanitarian organization has warned.
It comes as a new report released today reveals that nearly half of all pregnancies worldwide are unintended each year.
Research conducted for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Maternal and Reproductive Health Organization, found that between 2015 and 2019 there were approximately 121 million unwanted pregnancies each year.
An estimated one in four women worldwide, based on available data, is unable to say no to sex, and 40 percent of women in 47 countries do not use birth control to avoid pregnancy.
Seeing the Unseen, the UNFPA report on the state of the world’s population for 2022, is presented by the Irish Family Planning Association in Dublin this morning.
The UNFPA report states that humanitarian crises, including natural disasters, often result in women “losing access to sexual and reproductive health services, including contraceptives, even as they face increased exposure to sexual violence.”
“It is generally accepted that the risk of rape increases in emergency situations when protective mechanisms break down,” says the report.
Jacqueline Mahon, senior adviser on international finance for development at UNFPA, said many of the report’s findings applied to women now fleeing the war in Ukraine.
Ms Mahon, who is originally from Dublin but now lives in Washington, said the destruction of healthcare facilities in Ukraine posed a major risk to women and girls who may be or may become pregnant.
“In connection with Ukraine, we need to increase humanitarian aid. When so many people are fleeing, 10 million people have been displaced in Ukraine, over three million refugees, mostly women and girls, we have to respond,” said Ms. Mahon Irish Independent.
Ms Mahon said UNFPA had been working on the ground in both Moldova and Ukraine before the war began to improve local reproductive health care.
Since the conflict, UNFPA has brought in “13 tons of much-needed reproductive health products,” including contraceptive kits and menstrual hygiene products.
The organization is also working to bring two mobile health clinics and one mobile health clinic for mothers to Ukraine.
“We know that an estimated 80,000 pregnant women will give birth in Ukraine in the next three months. We know that since the conflict began, 265,000 have been pregnant. (There have been reports of) the destruction of health facilities, reports of women giving birth underground, reported cases of rape. Reproductive health is an essential part of humanitarian response,” said Ms. Mahon.
The report also found that there was better gender equality in countries had fewer cases of unwanted pregnancy. Unwanted pregnancy It has been found to be associated with poorer physical and mental health.
It found that nearly 10 percent of women worldwide were unable to make their own birth control decisions.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/women-in-ukraine-at-greater-risk-of-unintended-pregnancy-41501434.html Women in Ukraine have a higher risk of unwanted pregnancy