UN body fears ‘baby boom’ in CDO, Iligan | Inquirer News

UN body fears ‘baby boom’ in CDO, Iligan

People find ways to do it especially in difficult times.

Sex is an affirmation of life, but a United Nations-attached agency has expressed concern over “unplanned and unwanted pregnancies” even in the midst of the ruins of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities.

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The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) proposed the allocation of at least $1.76 million (about P77 million) in addressing the “reproductive health needs of displaced populations,” as well as the monitoring, prevention and containment of possible outbreak of disease.

In a report, the agency placed program beneficiaries at 300,000 people, including 5,000 family planning users, 20,000 young people and 100,000 pregnant and lactating women.

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Reproductive health kits

Ocha called for the implementation of the “minimum initial service package” for sexual and reproductive health through the provision of reproductive health kits, medical missions and information sessions, and of medical supplies and temporary health posts in lieu of damaged health facilities.

It also called for the deployment of mental-health and psychosocial support teams to render services to affected communities, and for the assignment of additional human resources to augment disease-surveillance staff.

According to Ocha, the “expected outcomes” of these initiatives include a “decrease in the number of maternal complications and deaths, prevention and management of disease outbreaks, reduced number of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, prevention of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, and a response to the sexual and reproductive needs of young people.”

Food aid

The agency also proposed the setting aside of $8.45 million (about P370 million) in “immediate life-saving food assistance” to some 220,000 flood victims from December 16 to March 15.

It noted that “while the first month of food distribution will be undertaken to meet life-saving requirements, the next two months will focus progressively on relief and recovery through food-for-work and cash-for-work (programs) … Women will be actively involved in all phases of the operation, including as direct recipients of food assistance whenever possible. Food distribution will occur through government counterparts with the World Food Program (WFP) providing monitoring and logistics support. WFP will also engage an international nongovernment organization for food distribution.”

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Infants

In coordination with the Department of Health, Ocha also plans to provide support to some 26,500 children under 5 years old in flood-devastated areas.

“Infants less than 2 months have six times higher risk of dying if not breast-fed while infants 9 to 11 months have 1.4 times increased risk,” it noted.

In its Infant Feeding in Emergencies program, the UN agency would establish breast-feeding areas in evacuation or relocation centers and monitor prohibited breast milk substitute donations.

Ocha also proposed the allocation of $354,000 (about P15.6 million) for the education-related needs of 34,383 schoolchildren in the flood-affected areas.

“By the end of March 2012, the United Nations Children’s Fund should be able to facilitate continued access of at least half the estimated 34,383 schoolchildren to safe and secure learning environment in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan; provide psychosocial support and emergency education supplies to replace those damaged during the floods,” it said.

Learning environment

Ocha said “it is important that the children’s learning environment be restored as quickly as possible as they are now in their final quarter before school ends in March. Education is key to their long-term opportunities and must not be interrupted.

In addition, the rhythm of schooling provides children with a sense of normalcy, which is crucial to their psychological well-being. In this regard, the replacement of their basic school needs, such as learning materials and school supplies, is critical to the affected children.”

Last week, the Manila office of Ocha launched the “Philippines (Mindanao) Humanitarian Action Plan 2012,” which aims to raise at least $28.6 million (about P1.26 billion) for the immediate needs of the Northern Mindanao flood victims.

The funds are intended to “provide clean food, drinking and bathing water, emergency shelter and essential household items to 471,000 worst-affected people in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities for three months,” said Ocha resident coordinator Dr. Soe Nyunt-U. With a report from Ryan D. Rosauro, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: CDO, Family, Health, Iligan, sex, Tropical storm Sendong, UN, Unplanned Pregnancy
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