More Fund, Collaborations Needed for Life-Saving Interventions, Health & Social Delivery System in Ethiopia: UNFPA

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Addis Ababa (ENA) December 13/2022  More funding and collaborations are needed for life-saving interventions, health and social delivery system recovery in the conflict-affected areas of Ethiopia, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

UNFPA Humanitarian Program Coordinator, James Okara Wanyama told ENA that​ conflict and drought in Ethiopia have caused destruction and crisis to the health system and exposed women and girls to violations.

The Fund has been tackling the ​violations by working with stakeholders and partners, he added.​ ​

“There are many elements of gender-based violence that we are tackling from female genital mutilation to early child marriage and sexual violence. (And) the crisis has exposed a lot of women and girls to a lot of violations;​ and one of the most deadly violations is sexual violence,” ​Wanyama noted. ​​

According to him, women have really been exposed to risks of gender-based violence in all forms in most of the conflict-affected regions and even in the drought regions.

There is an increase in early child marriages in Afar and Somali regions as well as in some parts of Oromia. Also, we saw a lot of sexual violence in the conflict-affected areas of Tigray, Amhara, Afar, Benishangul-​G​umuz, and other regions, he elaborated. 

UNFP have been working on preventing gender-based violence from happening and providing a package of services after they happen in collaboration with stakeholders and partners since 2020 with a strategic plan, it was learned.  

The Fund has reportedly invested about twenty million USD to support five regions with services and equipment supplies this year. The five core regions are Afar, Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz, Somali, and Tigray regions.

“​N​early half of the money I have mentioned has actually gone to equipment and supply — nearly 10 million USD of our intervention this year has gone to that. So,​ it is quite a large program,​ but it’s so far like a drop in the ocean. More needs to be done. There are significant gaps. Facilities have been destroyed or looted. Referral equipment​ like ambulances have been looted or destroyed. There is a need for us to work together collectively — ​the national and local governments, to actually revamp the health system.”

​The humanitarian program coordinator stressed the need for the government, stakeholders, and partners to work together in rebuilding the health system in most of these areas that have been ravaged by war and drought.

“As UNFPA we ask for more resources, especially to continue ensuring those life-saving interventions for mothers and girls wherever they are and continue as we also work on supporting the health system to recover because those two things have to go together now. We cannot afford a situation where we just focus on one and leave the other. We have to push both of them.”

​Wanyama revealed that ​UNFPA has requested 45 million USD for 2023.

“UNFPA put out an appeal to stakeholders and donors to support our sexual reproductive health and gender-based violence interventions around the country. In 2023, we are appealing for 45 million USD to help us provide life-saving interventions as well as helping to support the recovery of the health system and social delivery systems in the affected regions,” the program coordinator said.

The Fund is implementing three transformative results, namely working with stakeholders and partners around the country to end maternal death, gender-based violence and harmful practices, unmet needs for family planning as well as other complementary interventions.

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