Strengthening access to and quality of reproductive health services in humanitarian settings

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IAWG SURGE Capacity Initiative trains expert sexual and reproductive health coordinators

SRH Coordinators in Geneva discuss the logistics of implementing the MISP. Photo: Ingvill Tveite, NORCAP.
SRH Coordinators in Geneva discuss the logistics of implementing the MISP. Photo: Ingvill Tveite, NORCAP.

From December 9 to 15, 2015, UNFPA and the Norwegian Refugee Council-hosted surge roster, NORCAP, conducted a Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) training and simulation in Geneva, Switzerland as part of the IAWG SURGE Capacity Initiative. Nine participants from five organizations attended the four-day workshop on technical aspects of SRH coordination in humanitarian settings and the accompanying two-day simulation exercise, which provided hands-on problem-solving experience.

The SURGE Capacity Initiative, initially funded with support from the Belgium Government, aims to prepare a cadre of SRH Coordinators who are trained to lead all aspects of the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) during the initial phase of an emergency situation and to plan for comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services. These expert coordinators are added to the SURGE Capacity Roster and are made available to be deployed to emergency settings within the IAWG network to support humanitarian response for periods ranging from three months to one year.

The training and simulation brought together the collective knowledge of simulation training experts, the Health Cluster represented by the World Health Organization, and leaders in the field of reproductive health in crises to contribute to the professional development of this next group of SRH coordinators. This training follows the success of the first IAWG SURGE Capacity Initiative training that took place in 2014 in Kampala, Uganda with the support of the UNFPA country office that enabled SRH coordinators to respond to Ebola in Guinea and Liberia and the earthquake in Nepal.

Coordinators affiliated with the SURGE Capacity Initiative are currently responding to SRH needs in Tanzania, Serbia/Macedonia, Syria, Yemen and Djibouti. To date, the initiative has trained 24 experts as SRH coordinators that can be deployed for rapid emergency response.

SRH Coordinators participate in a two-day simulation exercise. Photo: Ingvill Tveite, NORCAP.
SRH Coordinators participate in a two-day simulation exercise. Photo: Ingvill Tveite, NORCAP.

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