Reproductive health services in disasters

India's National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has urged state authorities to supply reproductive health services in communities affected by disasters - addressing the maternal risks associated with population displacement.

According to the Hindu, the proposed Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) consists of interventions designed to reduce HIV transmission and combat preventable maternal mortalities and morbidities.

It also instructs humanitarian aid workers on how they can prevent and respond to sexual violence.

The MISP Manual was drafted by the NDMA in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in response to this summer's flooding in Uttarakhand.

Frederika Meijer, UNFPA's representative in India, explained that pregnancy-related deaths and sexual violence "soar" in disaster situations.

"It is estimated that in any displaced population and at any given point, almost four per cent of the population is pregnant - of which 15 per cent of women experience obstetric complications,"

Ms Meijer added that the MISP Manual would also help workers collect data - contributing to more effective and efficient relief efforts in future.