Reproductive health: a right for refugees and internally displaced persons

Reprod Health Matters. 2008 May;16(31):10-21. doi: 10.1016/S0968-8080(08)31351-2.


Continued political and civil unrest in low-resource countries underscores the ongoing need for specialised reproductive health services for displaced people. Displaced women particularly face high maternal mortality, unmet need for family planning, complications following unsafe abortion, and gender-based violence, as well as sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Relief and development agencies and UN bodies have developed technical materials, made positive policy changes specific to crisis settings and are working to provide better reproductive health care. Substantial gaps remain, however. The collaboration within the field of reproductive health in crises is notable, with many agencies working in one or more networks. The five-year RAISE Initiative brings together major UN and NGO agencies from the fields of relief and development, and builds on their experience to support reproductive health service delivery, advocacy, clinical training and research. The readiness to use common guidance documents, develop priorities jointly and share resources has led to smoother operations and less overlap than if each agency worked independently. Trends in the field, including greater focus on internally displaced persons and those living in non-camp settings, as well as refugees in camps, the protracted nature of emergencies, and an increasing need for empirical evidence, will influence future progress.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Altruism
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Human Rights*
  • Humans
  • Refugees*
  • Reproductive Health Services / organization & administration
  • Reproductive Medicine*
  • United Nations