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The UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency provides additional 6,903 Dignity Kits to support women and girls at risk of violence

HA NOI, 7 January 2021 – At the signing ceremony held this afternoon in Ha Noi, Ms. Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam handed over 6,903 Dignity Kits to Mr. Thao Xuan Sung, Chairman of the Central Committee of Viet Nam Farmers’ Union, for distribution to women at risk of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Vietnam’s floods-affected 5 provinces, namely Hue, Quang Tri, Quang Ngai, Nghe An and Thanh Hoa provinces. This follows UNFPA’s earlier handovers of dignity kits to the Viet Nam Farmer’s Union to mitigate negative consequences of COVID-19 and to women at risks of GBV in floods-affected provinces in Viet Nam. Up to now, about 12,474 women in eight provinces have received the Dignity Kits. Today’s handover was made possible with financial contributions from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.

The country’s central coastal region has suffered unprecedented flooding from prolonged downpours and successive typhoons since early October, resulting in more than 200 deaths recorded so far, and displacing thousands of people. 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.

According to the joint rapid assessment carried out last month, in which UNFPA experts played a lead role in the most affected areas of central Viet Nam, health facilities have been hit hard by floods and landslides, and routine public health programmes such as antenatal, child birth, post-natal care and family planning services have been disrupted. Women and girls continue to be unable to access basic health care services, including sexual and reproductive health.

The disaster has forced women and girls to displacement in evacuation centers 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. In addition, access to water and places to wash and dry reusable pads and clothes, or to dispose used materials, is currently challenged.

Many poor and destitute women remain unemployed during and after floods. Women may also suffer from domestic violence and are subject to harassment when taking shelter at community centers. These particular vulnerabilities and problems interrupt women’s mitigation efforts and adaptation capacities in disaster risk reduction.

Dignity Kits are a signature product of 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.

Preserving dignity is essential to maintain self-esteem and confidence, which is important to cope with in stressful and potentially overwhelming humanitarian situations. A Dignity Kit comprises the basic items that women and girls need to protect themselves and maintain their basic hygiene, respect, and dignity in the face of crisis,” said Ms. Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam at the handover ceremony.

The National Study on Violence Against Women in Viet Nam in 2019 showed that nearly two in three married women (almost 63 per cent) have experienced one or more forms of physical, sexual, emotional and economic violence and controlling behaviours by their husbands in their lifetime. About 48 per cent of victims did not tell anyone about the violence they endured, and 90.4 per cent did not seek any help from public services. The overall productivity loss caused by violence against women was estimated at 1.81% of GDP in 2018.

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

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Nguyen Thi Hong Thanh | UNFPA Communications

Email: | Tel: 0913093363