UNFPA on standby to provide urgent psychosocial support, reproductive health care to rescued Chibok girls

By United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, welcomes the release of 21 Chibok schoolgirls who were captured by Boko Haram. UNFPA commends the Nigerian Government’s commitment to the liberation of more girls and other survivors, and has prepositioned counsellors to provide urgent psychosocial support to the girls and reproductive health care for those who need it.

The Boko Haram crisis continues to pose a major human security challenge in Nigeria. The crisis, which started in 2009, has predominantly affected north-eastern States of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, with about 30,000 people dead, 1.8 million people internally displaced and 7,000 women and girls kidnapped. Women and children are often the most vulnerable in crises, because they face the risk of sexual and gender-based violence and lack access to reproductive health care, especially for those who are pregnant, making them prone to losing their lives and babies.

UNFPA is providing reproductive health kits that contain live-saving supplies to bridge the gap so affected women and girls continue to have access to reproductive health services. But beyond their physical health is the trauma and violence they endure in emergencies. UNFPA is responding by providing psychosocial support and counselling to survivors to begin the process of healing and rehabilitation. Since its intervention in 2014, UNFPA has helped safely deliver about 88,000 babies in affected Nigerian States and provided psychosocial support to more than 174,000 survivors.

UNFPA calls for and anticipates the release of more abducted girls, boys and women and is ready to continue working with governments and other partners to immediately meet their reproductive health needs, including psychosocial support and counselling.