COHI is actively organizing our response to provide maternal, reproductive, and newborn response teams and supplies during the emergency phase of recovery after the recent earthquake in Nepal. COHI made our first trip to Nepal in 2004 to train midwives in the region, and we have a deep network of allies in Nepal and India to help secure access to the region.
- 294,000 women in Nepal will give birth in the next 6 months. Before the earthquake, six women a day died in childbirth in Nepal. COHI believes this number is likely to increase as a result of increased complications during pregnancy caused by the stress of the earthquake and the country’s mourning and recovery in months to come.
- 32% of mothers in Nepal were set to give birth with a skilled attendant before the earthquake. This number is likely to drop dramatically with access to roads, bridges and transportation extremely limited in the months of recovery ahead.
- Before the earthquake in Nepal, there were only 6.7 midwives for every 10,000 women in need of a trained attendant, an already insufficient number; access to other healthcare services will decrease as a result of the focus on emergency response and recovery;
- COHI knows that girl children were especially vulnerable to exploitation and sexual slavery in Nepal before the earthquake and face increased risk due to the chaos and destruction of social systems due to the earthquake.
- The first phase of our response will involve conducting a rapid health needs assessment to determine the acute maternal, reproductive, and newborn health needs.
- Response activities in-country will include helping COHI’s multinational partners to coordinate the distribution of maternal, reproductive, and newborn health-related supplies and equipment to moms, babies, children, and the health care providers through our in-country. community based allies.
- If needed, COHI will provide an initial team of emergency response clinicians: OB/GYNS, nurses, midwives, trauma specialists, and public health professionals.
- COHI commits to working with linguistically and culturally fluent providers, trained in psychological first aid.
COHI's local response is being led by coordinators with deep networks in Nepal in human trafficking, sexual reproductive health, and community organizing. They are leading the assessment and will guide the long-term response partnerships and program plans for COHI in Nepal.
Shubha is a feminist originally from Nepal working in and around Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for the last eight years, developing and implementing programs. Her areas of professional specialization are Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Comprehensive Sexuality Education, and gender mainstreaming and social inclusion.
Sarah Rich-Zendel is a feminist, researcher, and Ph.D. student in Political Science at the University of Toronto. Sarah has been working in the areas of gender, labor, and sexual rights for over ten years, coordinating and conducting research in Nepal. Sarah is currently involved in two Nepal-based research projects aimed at addressing issues related to unsafe migration and trafficking as well as the global/local dynamics of the sexual rights movement.
We are so grateful for the funds that have come in, thank you to those of you who donated. Due to our community-based mobilization, COHI has already distributed funds, supplies, and food to women in Nepal. We predict that our fundraising efforts will require at least $100,000 USD to provide on-going care for the women and children most in need.