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Cover page of the Journal of Health Sciences


 
 Table of Contents  
SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 180-181

Unintended pregnancy and gender-based violence in settings experiencing humanitarian crisis


1 Medical Education Unit Coordinator and Member of the Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission26-Feb-2022
Date of Acceptance28-Mar-2022
Date of Web Publication24-May-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/kleuhsj.kleuhsj_142_22

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  Abstract 


Pregnancy is a physiological condition and is expected to bring joy to the lives of individuals and their family. The available global estimates suggest that almost 50% of the reported pregnancies around the world are unintended. We must note that unintended pregnancies pose a major health risk to women, including a higher risk of maternal deaths, and adverse health and financial outcomes for family and society. Moreover, it is a fact that the delivery of contraceptive services, measures targeting sexual and reproductive health needs of women, and access to life-saving health services during humanitarian crisis takes a toll. In general, women are subjected to gender-based violence, including sexual violence and various types of intimate partner violence in the regions that are experiencing conflict. There is an immense need to strengthen the delivery of contraceptives, including condoms, so that such unintended pregnancies can be averted. To conclude, unintended pregnancy is a major public health burden and has been associated with a wide range of adverse outcomes, especially in settings experiencing a humanitarian crisis. The need of the hour is to take specific measures to reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancy and adopt a multi-sectoral approach to improve the quality of life of women.

Keywords: Gender-based violence, unintended pregnancy, United Nations Population Fund


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Unintended pregnancy and gender-based violence in settings experiencing humanitarian crisis. Indian J Health Sci Biomed Res 2022;15:180-1

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Unintended pregnancy and gender-based violence in settings experiencing humanitarian crisis. Indian J Health Sci Biomed Res [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Jun 25];15:180-1. Available from: https://www.ijournalhs.org/text.asp?2022/15/2/180/345821




  Introduction Top


Pregnancy is a physiological condition and is expected to bring joy to the lives of individuals and their family.[1] The goal of policy makers is to ensure that at the end of the pregnancy, we have a healthy mother and a healthy newborn, and a lot depends upon the quality of antenatal care delivered to the users.[1] The findings of different studies carried out in heterogeneous settings have reported a high unmet need for family planning, and it has been attributed to a wide range of reasons.[1],[2],[3] This calls for the need to take specific targeted measures to minimize the unmet need for family planning and thus we have to strengthen awareness activities and delivery of family planning measures.[2],[3]


  Unintended Pregnancy Top


The available global estimates suggest that almost 50% of the reported pregnancies around the world are unintended.[4] We must note that unintended pregnancies pose a major health risk to women, including a higher risk of maternal deaths, and adverse health and financial outcomes for family and society.[4] Further, the children born out of such unintended pregnancies also have to experience a wide range of physical and mental hardships, and they also find it extremely difficult to survive under these challenging circumstances.[4],[5]


  Unintended Pregnancy during a Humanitarian Crisis Top


Over the last decade, the incidence and duration of the humanitarian crisis have significantly enhanced in different regions across the world, and millions of people have been displaced, migrated to other regions, and are exposed to a wide range of physical and mental health hazards.[4],[5],[6] In-fact, the estimates of unintended pregnancy rise significantly amid a humanitarian crisis, wherein the autonomy of a woman towards her body or reproductive choices is remarkably compromised, which in turn results in enhancing the risk of unintended pregnancy.[5],[6] The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) reported that 60% of maternal deaths in the 2015 year were from those regions which were experiencing the humanitarian crisis.[4]

Moreover, it is a fact that the delivery of contraceptive services, measures targeting sexual and reproductive health needs of women, and access to life-saving health services during humanitarian crisis takes a toll.[5],[6]Thus, women found it extremely difficult to control their fertility and during these stressful times, often become pregnant, especially when they are not intending to do the same. It has been estimated that in Afghanistan alone due to the ongoing conflicts and disruption of the health systems, 1 million additional unintended pregnancies will be reported in the 2021-2025 period.[4]


  Additional Challenges to Women During Humanitarian Crisis Top


In general, women are subjected to gender-based violence, including sexual violence and various types of intimate partner violence in the regions that are experiencing conflict.[7] As these women are coerced into sexual activities, there is a significant rising trend of unintended pregnancy in these settings.[7],[8] At the same time, the women are exploited and in an attempt to thrive, they either have to get involved in sex work or become a victim of human trafficking. In other words, the basic human rights of women and children are significantly compromised during these stressful times and they tend to have long periods of mental scarring.[4],[7],[8]


  Strategies to Improve the Scenario Top


The UNFPA is committed to improving the living and health standards of women trapped in settings of humanitarian crisis.[4] There is an immense need to strengthen the delivery of contraceptives, including condoms, so that such unintended pregnancies can be averted.[4],[9] More often than not, these women resort to unsafe abortion just to avoid future negative consequences, and thus it becomes quite essential to provide easily accessible and quality assured services to the women.[4],[9],[10] In addition, there is a definite need to address the root cause of the problem, wherein we target gender equality, improving the education of women and girls, and providing them with more vocational opportunities to ensure their livelihood and survival.[9],[10]


  Conclusion Top


To conclude, unintended pregnancy is a major public health burden and has been associated with a wide range of adverse outcomes, especially in settings experiencing a humanitarian crisis. The need of the hour is to take specific measures to reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancy and adopt a multi-sectoral approach to improve the quality of life of women.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Ozdemir R, Cevik C, Ciceklioglu M. Unmet needs for family planning among married women aged 15-49 years living in two settlements with different socioeconomic and cultural characteristics: a cross-sectional study from Karabuk Province in Turkey. Rural Remote Health 2019;19:5125.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Gahungu J, Vahdaninia M, Regmi PR. The unmet needs for modern family planning methods among postpartum women in Sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review of the literature. Reprod Health 2021;18:35.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Vishnu Prasad R, Venkatachalam J, Singh Z. Unmet needs of family planning among women: a cross-sectional study in a rural area of Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu, South India. J Obstet Gynaecol India 2016;66:488-93.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
United Nations Population Fund. Risk of sexual violence, unintended pregnancy soars in crisis settings, new report highlights; 2022. Available from: https://www.unfpa.org/news/risk-sexual-violence-unintended-pregnancy-soars-crisis-settings-new-report-highlights [Last accessed on 2022 Apr 08].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Horvath S, Schreiber CA. Unintended pregnancy, induced abortion, and mental health. Curr Psychiatry Rep 2017;19:77.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Bearak J, Popinchalk A, Ganatra B, Moller AB, Tunçalp íBeavin C, et al. Unintended pregnancy and abortion by income, region, and the legal status of abortion: Estimates from a comprehensive model for 1990-2019. Lancet Glob Health 2020;8:e1152-61.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Stark L, Seff I, Reis C. Gender-based violence against adolescent girls in humanitarian settings: A review of the evidence. Lancet Child Adolesc Health 2021;5:210-22.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Beyene AS, Chojenta C, Loxton D. Gender-based violence among female senior secondary school students in Eastern Ethiopia. Violence Vict 2021;36:509-30.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Kanbur N. Istanbul convention: Commitment to preventing gender-based violence. J Adolesc Health 2021;69:354-5.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Choudhary D. Meeting the unmet needs of family planning. Biomed J 2016;39:159.  Back to cited text no. 10
    




 

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