UN agencies team up to provide family planning for refugees in Thailand

16 January 2009

Two United Nations agencies are teaming up to provide reproductive health care, including family planning information and services, for refugees living along Thailand’s border with Myanmar.

The collaboration between the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) will benefit some 111,000 refugees from Myanmar living in nine camps in Thailand, a quarter of whom are women of reproductive age.

“People’s needs for voluntary family planning information and services do not end when they become refugees,” said UNHCR Deputy Regional Representative Giuseppe de Vincentis. “We consider family planning and reproductive health a basic human right and UNHCR is committed to ensuring that all refugee needs are met.”

On Wednesday UNFPA provided contraceptives to meet the needs of 8,500 current users and 400 new users for six months to one year. The supplies will be distributed by UNHCR’s aid partners, who will also provide related counselling, education and hospital referrals in four camps – Umpium, Mae La, Mae Ra Ma Luang and Mae La Oon.

In addition, the sister agencies and the Thai Government are discussing the need to address the needs of adolescents, whose access to information and services has been limited by cultural taboos.

“It is our hope that further collaboration with UNHCR will improve the predictability, timeliness and effectiveness of reproductive health information and service provision for refugees here in Thailand,” said Garimella Giridhar, UNFPA's representative in Thailand.

 

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