Go to Blog
Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Giving Birth When the Health Center Has Been Washed Away

What happens if you’re pregnant and start hemorrhaging, but the health care center has been destroyed? In a recent 3-day training of trainers, the WRC addressed exactly this question. 

What happens if you’re pregnant and start hemorrhaging, but the health care center has been destroyed? If the doctors and nurses have been killed or are missing? What if you have to give birth on the roadside or in a tent and you have no postnatal care in the critical hours and days after childbirth? 

On November 18, 2013, when Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines, women faced these very questions. More than 230,000 pregnant women were affected by the typhoon.1 Nearly 900 women were giving birth each day, with 130 of them likely to experience life-threatening complications. Despite being well versed in disaster risk reduction, the Philippines has gaps in knowledge and planning at the community level on how to mitigate the unique risks of women and girls in emergencies.

To address this, the Women’s Refugee Commission conducted a three-day training of trainers on how to incorporate reproductive health and gender into emergency preparedness. With support from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and in partnership with the New York-based Huairou Commission, thirty community members from eight barangays (municipal districts) were trained. These 27 women and three men included students, store keepers, health workers, barangay officials, a manicurist, a seamstress and retirees. They ranged in age from 18 to 60-plus. All were community leaders, and all came keen to learn. Most arrived with little or no expertise in reproductive health or gender-based violence issues as they relate to emergency preparedness.

Using a curriculum developed by the Women’s Refugee Commission (available in English and Filipino), the course teaches community-based disaster risk reduction; reproductive health priorities in emergencies; safe motherhood; sexually transmitted infections; family planning; and gender-based violence. 

Read more on the Disaster Philanthropy blog.

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights