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The needs of women, pregnant mothers and girls at the centre of UNFPA’s COVID-19 response

8 April 2020 (Colombo, Sri Lanka)- The country representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Sri Lanka, Ms. Ritsu Nacken, handed over prepositioned maternity and dignity kits to Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Director-General of Health Services in Sri Lanka in the presence of Dr. Chithramalee De Silva, Director (Mental and Child Health) of the Family Health Bureau, Dr. Mapitigama, consultant community physician and Dr .Susie Perera, Public Health Specialist, Director Organization Development from the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic represents a significant challenge for governments and communities. Through the last three decades, UNFPA has continued to support the Ministry of Health during its emergency response and humanitarian crises. The kits worth LKR 3.1 million (USD 36,000) is part of the regional pre-positioning initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of the Australian Government to support countries to respond to emergencies effectively. The kits have been prepositioned in the country in partnership with Oxfam Sri Lanka.

Dignity and maternity kits contain hygiene and sanitary items, as well as other items explicitly tailored to the needs of mothers, women and girls of reproductive age in local communities. The aim of this initiative is to provide the simplest amenities that have the greatest impact on a woman’s comfort, mobility and physical and psychological health.

UNFPA Asia Pacific Regional Office, which has received LKR 71 million ($ 165,000) aid from the Australian DFAT, has long partnered on humanitarian response in the region. These prepositioned reproductive health supplies speed up emergency assistance and save lives. UNFPA is committed to ensuring that the reproductive health needs and protection concerns of women and girls are integrated into humanitarian response through working closely with the Government of Sri Lanka, civil society organizations and other development partners.