modify people's patterns of priorities and response; given a different
set of stimuli, people tend to forget or suspend the use of protective
measures such as contraceptives. Furthermore, the climate of emotional
tension fosters physical closeness between people, increasing the
vulnerability of women to sexual relations that are unwelcome, and
unprotected against pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease. Changes
also occur in the way in which individual emotions and behavior are
expressed, often manifested in frustration and anguish which, among
other consequences, can spark acts of physical aggression that are
sometimes manifested in sexual acts, chiefly against women.
Thus it is necessary to act swiftly and decisively to prevent unplanned, undesired, or even forced pregnancies.
The activities below should be included among the principal points to consider in preparing emergency response measures:
current needs, conditions, and availability of contraceptive stocks by
type and quantity; safe storage mechanisms; expiration dates; and
resources for distribution to users. It is necessary to know if
supplies are available in neighboring regions of the country which
could be drawn on rapidly and sent to consumption points.
emergency contraceptives in the supplies to distribute. The
interruption or suspension in the supply and regular use of
contraceptive methods, and the increase in sexual violence incidents
make it crucial that women have access to emergency contraceptives. As
a starting point, it is recommended to estimate that 1% of women of
childbearing age will require them.
the availability and distribution of latex condoms. The use of condoms
should be promoted directly among both men and women in order to
contribute effectively to the prevention of unwanted pregnancies, and
to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
the ongoing delivery of oral and injectable hormone-based
contraceptives and barrier methods to users. It is important to review
the physical condition of contraceptive supplies before distributing
the use of injectable methods. During the emergency stage, the use of
injectable contraceptives (preferably) is recommended, in view of the
limited availability of water to clean and disinfect devices and
medical equipment utilized for insertion of intrauterine devices, tubal
ligations, and vasectomies.
as is possible, establish obstetric/gynecological health care services
in the shelters and temporary refuges, with trained staff.
information and education sessions in the temporary shelters and
refuges, and other public places, geared toward men and women of
childbearing age, with regard to sexuality, sexual and reproductive
rights, and shared responsibilities in the prevention of unwanted
and disseminate protection-driven messages directed to the general
population on how to prevent health risks and obtain basic services
the availability, at all times, of educational supplies concerning the
reproductive health actions that the population should carry out in
emergencies so that, in the event of need, these can be drawn on for
health promotion activities.
Department of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief
Tel: (202) 974-3434