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, 4 (1), 22-7

Maternal Health Considerations During Disaster Relief

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Maternal Health Considerations During Disaster Relief

Nawal N Nour. Rev Obstet Gynecol.

Abstract

When disasters strike resource-poor nations, women are often the most affected. They represent the majority of the poor, the most malnourished, and the least educated, and they account for more than 75% of displaced persons. The predisaster familial duties of women are magnified and expanded, and they have significantly less support and fewer resources than they had before the incident. Moreover, after the disaster, they bear the responsibility of caring for their children, the elderly, the injured, and the sick. Besides the effects of the disaster, women become more vulnerable to reproductive and sexual health problems and are at increased risk for physical and sexual violence. Women become both victims and the primary caretakers. Health practitioners are often not aware of these issues when providing emergency care. Developing a disaster relief team with experts in maternal health is necessary to improve women's health outcome.

Keywords: Disaster relief; Infant mortality; Maternal mortality; Sexual violence.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
People affected by natural disasters (1971–2001). Adapted from UNEP/GRID-Arendal. People Affected by Natural Disasters During the Period 1971 to 2001. UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library. 2002. http://maps.grida.no/go/graphic/people_affected_by_natural_disasters_during_the_period_1971_to_2001. Accessed February 25, 2011.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Average number of disasters from 1990 to 2009. *Victims: Sum of killed and total affected. Source: EMDAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database; www.emdat.be; Université catholque de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Number of people reported killed by natural disasters (1975–2009). Source: EMDAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database; www.emdat.be; Université catholque de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Number of people affected by natural disasters (1975–2009). Source: EMDAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database; www.emdat.be; Université catholque de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.

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