Nepal already faces a dire situation when it comes to maternal health, a crisis that has only been exacerbated by the recent devastating earthquake. The death toll there has exceeded 5,000 people, but of those who survived, pregnant women remain particularly vulnerable because of the care they need and the high risks they face. Pregnancy-related deaths and gender-based violence always surge in times of large natural disasters like this one. “Many women lose access to essential reproductive health services and give birth in appalling conditions without access to safe delivery services and lifesaving care,” says Priya Marwah, a UNFPA humanitarian response coordinator. Many clinics are either destroyed or overburdened, and some women are afraid to return to the hospital out of fear of aftershocks. Thousands of pregnant women and new mothers can’t get the health access they require. There are reports of women delivering their babies outside, lying on nothing but a yoga mat. Some aid organizations, such as the UNFPA, are now trying to focus efforts on the needs of pregnant women, providing them with dignity kits (including items as sanitary napkins, soap, toothbrushes and towels) and reproductive health kits, which provide tools needed for vaginal tears, blood transfusions and other medical issues that arise during delivery.
Read the full story at Huffington Post .