UNFPA presents over 5,700 dignity kits to Vietnamese women hinh anh 1(Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hanoi (VNA) – A signing ceremony on the provision of 5,704 dignity kits for women and girls at risk of violence in three flood-hit central provinces of Vietnam was held on November 24 by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

At the event, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam Kitahara Naomi handed over the relief aid to Thao Xuan Sung, Chairman of the Vietnam Farmers’ Union (VFU) Central Committee. The kits will be delivered to women vulnerable to gender-based violence in the three central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Nam.

This was the follow-up event of a ceremony held by the UNFPA on the handing over of relief aid to the Vietnam Farmers Union (VFU) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Central localities of Vietnam have suffered severe flooding caused by torrential heavy rains and consecutive tropical storms since early October, which claimed about 200 lives and displaced thousands of local residents.

At least 5.5 million people in the region have been affected, including an estimated 1,343,162 women of reproductive age with 92,075 of them pregnant.

Pregnancy and menstruation do not stop in emergencies, and as such uninterrupted services for sexual and reproductive health must be provided to women and girls. And risks of violence against women and girls increase in crisis, for which effective prevention and response must be immediately put in place for women exposed to, or at risk of being exposed to violence and abuse.

According to a joint rapid assessment conducted with the participation of UNFPA experts in the previous month in worst-hit region in the central provinces, flooding and landslides severely affect health care facilities and interrupt public health care programmes of prenatal care checkups, support during labour and childbirth, postnatal care and family planning. Those factors render women and girls inaccessible to basic health care services, including sexual and reproductive health care.

The disaster has forced women and girls to displacement in evacuation centres without having the time to pack essential supplies. As a result, they are unable to manage their hygiene properly and lack access to basic needs such as sanitary pads, clothes and underwear that are needed to manage their menstrual periods. In addition, access to water and places to wash and dry reusable pads and clothes, or to dispose of used materials, is currently challenged.

Dignity kits are a signature feature of the UNFPA's comprehensive package of humanitarian assistance to safeguard sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls, mitigate the risk of gender-based violence, and respond and protect the dignity of women and girls adversely affected by a crisis.

Kitahara underlined that maintaining feminine hygiene is necessary to help women and girls to feel comfortable, confident and ensure their health amid disasters and crisis.

UNFPA presents over 5,700 dignity kits to Vietnamese women hinh anh 2Delegates at the handover ceremony (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Putting an end to violence towards women and girls is a priority for all, she stressed, adding that it ensure everyone is taking part in the country’s sustainable development and no one is left behind.

She expressed her belief in the VFU’s support in distributing the aid to women and girls in worst-hit areas by floods in Vietnam’s central region.

Violence against women and children is one of the most pervasive human rights violations in the world today, and its negative impacts on survivors, their families, and communities is immense. The National Study on Violence Against Women in Vietnam in 2019 showed that nearly two in three married women (almost 63 percent) have experienced one or more forms of physical, sexual, emotional and economic violence and controlling behaviours by their husbands in their lifetime, and almost 32 percent in the last 12 months.

About 48 percent of victims did not tell anyone about the violence they endured, and 90.4 percent did not seek any help from public services. The overall productivity loss caused by violence against women was estimated at 1.81 percent of GDP in 2018.

UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. Its mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled./.