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Maguindanao, Philippines, 6 August 2019 — The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with support from the Australian Government is providing life-saving reproductive health supplies and medical equipment to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) to address the needs of pregnant women, lactating mothers and young girls displaced by the armed conflict in Maguindanao, Lanao Del Sur and Sulu.

According to the 25 July information from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Ministry of Social Services, over 20,000 families remain affected from the four provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu and Basilan.

UNFPA estimates that there could be as many as 1,800 pregnant women among the affected population, with around 600 expected to deliver in the next three months. More than 1,100 women are thought to have given birth in the last six months.

As displacement continues, pregnant and lactating women face life-threatening complications. They are also in need of proper hygiene and nutrition, and protection from gender-based violence. In these emergencies, skilled birth attendance and emergency obstetric care become even more critical in saving mothers and their children from complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

“We must never forget that women do not stop getting pregnant or delivering babies just because an emergency strikes,” noted UNFPA Representative in the Philippines, Iori Kato.

In partnership with the BARMM Ministry of Health and with assistance from the Australian Government, UNFPA Philippines is providing “Clean Delivery Kits” and medical equipment. The “Clean Delivery Kits” contain sterile supplies such as razors, plastic sheeting, gloves and other essential items to facilitate safe births; while the medical equipment includes resuscitators, forceps, and stethoscopes to enable midwives, nurses and doctors to provide safe deliveries.

“These medical supplies are key to ensuring that pregnant and lactating women access life-saving reproductive health services as they become even more vulnerable,” added Kato.

UNFPA is also providing “Teen Kits” - which contain hygiene items such as sanitary napkins, underwear, soap and mosquito repellent – to 600 young girls staying in evacuation centers, where conditions can make it difficult for them to protect themselves from infectious diseases. These kits also include flashlights and whistles to help with their mobility and safety at night.

OIC Maguindanao Provincial Health Officer II, Dr. Elizabeth Samama was present at the ceremonial turnover of the medical supplies and equipment held in the Provincial Hospital of Maguindanao.

For more information or media inquiries please contact:

Mario Villamor

UNFPA Media and Communications Officer

Tel:  +63 917 302 6699;