Technical Meeting on Reproductive Health Services in Crisis Situations, Rennes, France, 3-5 November 1998

Rennes, France, 3-5 November 1998

Press Releases

Agenda and participants

Participants' Views: Excerpts from press releases

Dr. Gill Mezey, a forensic psychiatrist at St. George’s Hospital Medical School in London, said that reproductive health providers need to be concerned with women’s mental health. Women who have been raped are subject to depression, anxiety, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder. Early intervention-- getting women to talk about their experience--can help to restore their sense of power, dignity and control and to alleviate long-term trauma. added.

Many governments are not prepared for emergencies, and refugees often arrive without warning, said Godfrey Mbaruku of Tanzania's Ministry of Health. To complicate matters, he added, NGOs sometimes go to crisis areas with inexperienced or culturally insensitive staff. When relief organizations leave areas of operation, they sometimes leave behind plastic sheets and little else. Like other speakers, he stressed the importance of involving refugees in coordinating and implementing services.

Dr. Nicholas Dodd of UNFPA's Technical and Policy Division suggested that a database should be created to help keep track of the wide variety of activities going on in many parts of the world, and of resource materials that have been produced. This would not only aid those active in the field, but would also help raise global awareness of what is being done-and what needs to be done-to meet the reproductive health needs of people caught up in emergencies.

The Director of the ENSP, Dr. Pascal Chevit, said the meeting was an opportunity to consider new ways of providing training in reproductive and general health. His institution will consider developing new training methods as a priority. Many of the meeting's recommendations can be applied to other types of crisis, such as unemployment, homelessness and lack of income in many developed and developing countries.

The outcome of this meeting, along with those of other forums in the ICPD+5 series of round tables and technical meetings, will serve as inputs to an international forum in The Hague, Netherlands, from 8 to 12 February 1999, and to a report the United Nations Secretary-General will submit to the 30 June-2 July 1999 special session of the General Assembly.

Press Releases

Day 3: Reproductive Health Must be an Integral Part of Care for All Refugees and Displaced Persons, Meeting Concludes. November 05
Day 2: Refugees and Displaced People Must be Involved in Implementing Reproductive Health Programmes, Experts Say. November 04
Day 1: Relief Agencies Must Help Survivors of Sexual Violence, Meeting on Refugee Reproductive Health Told. November 03

Background: Technical Meeting to Examine Provision of Reproductive Health Care to Refugees. November 02