La Na* works on the border of Thailand and Myanmar, where many refugees from Myanmar currently live. A community health worker, she was trained to provide family planning, care to survivors of sexual assault and safe delivery for pregnant women as part of a Women’s Refugee Commission partnership with a local organization. She is one of the few in her community that can provide health care, because there are no health clinics or hospitals nearby. Without her, many women and girls would have no access to reproductive health care at all.
In a crisis situation, community members are often best positioned and able to respond to the needs of their peers. During the first days and weeks following an emergency, they are frequently the first responders. Even when a situation stabilizes, community members, civil society leaders and local health workers remain connected to the population and are often best able to access the most vulnerable.
Empowering health workers, communities and civil society to prepare for and respond to health needs is a priority within the Women’s Refugee Commission’s current work.
The Women’s Refugee Commission has developed universal information, education and communication (IEC) materials about reproductive health services as outlined in the Minimum Initial Services Package (MISP) for Reproductive Health in Crisis Situations, an international standard of care. The materials can be adapted and used in different countries and contexts.
*Name changed for anonymity.