Continuation of 5.8

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5.8.1. Gender and registration of the population in emergencies

Registering the affected population is the basis for determining what is needed to protect and aid the disaster-affected population and plan the corresponding assistance programs. Information on the affected population’s specific characteristics is very important—sex and age, as well as the size and type of groups with specific needs.

Registration systems should guarantee that women and men have the same possibility of being registered individually and of obtaining individual documentation. The IASC Gender Handbook for Humanitarian Action describes the procedure of setting up a good registration system and includes a checklist of the elements that must be taken into account in this activity.

5.8.2. Gender and health in disaster situations

As is known, disasters jeopardize the health of women, girls, boys, and men in different ways. Women, girls, and boys often face greater difficulty in gaining access to assistance or communicating their needs. Hence, health services should take measures to ensure and monitor access to assistance and protection for all these groups and should be attentive to their specific needs. Accordingly:

a. Needs assessments conducted jointly with other response sectors facilitate efficient use of resources and improve coordination. When data is collected, breakdown by sex should be included, and gender analysis should be applied.

b. Community mobilization and participation should be undertaken from the beginning, participatory evaluations that improve access when programs and interventions are designed.

c. When health services are organized, women and men from the community, as well as health workers, should be equitably involved in designing and managing the provision of services. The matters covered should include distribution of supplies and the need for coordinated strategies to ensure continued health services delivery Examples of strategies in this context are:

  • Minimum initial services for access to high-priority sexual and reproductive health services, beginning in the first days and weeks of an emergency, as well as access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services in the context of gender violence once the situation has been stabilized.
  • Prevention of gender-based violence and response plans for to response. Plans should provide for treatment, and support for survivors of gender-based violence.
  • Culturally appropriate social and psychological support for women, girls, boys, and men.
  • Privacy in medical offices, examinations, and care.
  • Coverage for methods to control and prevent HIV/AIDS, with special empahsis on response to gender-based violence and the health risks that women face, such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
  • First aid kits and emergency medical kits for safe and hygienic childbirth and emergency obstetric care, as well as sanitary pads for women, condoms for both men and women, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) kits when necessary, emergency contraceptives, and pregnancy tests. United Nations agencies such as UNFPA and UNICEF often provide such items for disaster situations.
  • Deploayment of local health workers of both sexes.
  • Training and mobilization of traditional midwives as necessary.
  • Equal pay in the health sector and opportunities in the sector to strengthen capacities and training in issues related to women’s and men’s health.