Inter-Agency Field Manual on Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings
All people, including those living in humanitarian settings, have the right to reproductive health (RH). To exercise this right, affected populations must have an enabling environment and access to comprehensive RH information and services so they can make free and informed choices.
Quality RH services must be based on the needs of the affected populations, particularly the needs of women and girls. They must respect the religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds of the communities, while conforming to universally recognized international human rights standards.
Providing comprehensive, high-quality RH services requires a multi-sectoral, integrated approach. Protection, health, nutrition, education and community service personnel all have a part to play in planning and delivering RH services.
The best way to guarantee that RH services meet the needs of the affected population is to involve the community in every phase of the development of those services, from designing programs to launching and maintaining them to evaluating their impact. Only then will people benefit from services specifically tailored to their needs and demands, and only then will they have a stake in the future of those services
At an Inter-agency Symposium on Reproductive Health in Refugee Situations held in Geneva, Switzerland, in June 1995, more than 50 governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and UN agencies committed themselves to strengthening reproductive health (RH) services to refugees. They formed the IAWG, the Inter-Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Refugee Situations, now called the InterAgency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises. Following the symposium, the IAWG, in consultation with affected communities, produced, extensively field tested and eventually printed and distributed in 1999 the first edition of the Inter-agency Field Manual on Reproductive Health in Refugee Situations (IAFM or “Field Manual”). To reflect the wide application of the Manual’s principles and technical contents beyond refugee situations, it is now called the Inter-agency Field Manual on Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings. The Field Manual supports the delivery of quality RH services. Its objectives in humanitarian settings are to:
outline a standard set of minimum RH interventions to be put in place as a priority;
serve as a tool to facilitate discussion and decision-making in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluations of RH interventions;
guide RH officers, RH program managers and service providers in introducing and/or strengthening evidence-based RH interventions based on the affected population’s needs and demands and with full respect for their beliefs and values;
advocate for a multi-sectoral approach to meeting the RH needs of affected populations and to foster coordination among all partners.