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EU and UNFPA delivered sanitary kits for female healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response in Luhansk oblast

EU and UNFPA procured and delivered 500 female sanitary kits for female healthcare workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 response to 4 hospitals assigned to provide treatment to COVID-19 patients in Luhansk oblast: “Lysychansk Multidisciplinary Hospital of Lysychansk City Council”, “Sievierodonetsk City Multidisciplinary Hospital of Sievierodonetsk City Council”, “Starobilske District Territorial Medical Association” of Starobilsk District Council, “Svativ Multiprofile Hospital”.

Also, within the framework of the European Union’s “We ACT: Women Empowering Actions” programme it is planned to provide female sanitary kits to hospital responders to COVID-19 in other regions of Ukraine.

“Since in Ukraine women represent 83.1 percent of healthcare workers, it is critical to support their needs, including on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response. Given that women provide the main part of primary healthcare interventions including frontline interaction at the community level it is concerning that not enough attention is given to how their work environment may be discriminatory, as well as what their sexual and reproductive health needs are as frontline healthcare workers. Programme provides female sanitary kits for healthcare workers which is crucial for their health and dignity during severe conditions for infection control.” - said Martin Schroeder, Head of the Operations Section for Local and Human Development at the European Union Delegation to Ukraine.

“Sanitary kits consist of personal hygiene products - deodorants, wipes, body cleansers, pads, tampons, underwear, etc., which are crucial to maintain the comfort and dignity of female healthcare workers. Wearing personal protective equipment and exposure to disinfectants for a long time can cause discomfort, irritation and even disruption of the integrity of the skin, especially hands and face, such as redness, dermatitis, in some cases even open wounds and cause additional discomfort, in particular in the context of, for instance, sexual and reproductive health, menstruation” - said Bohdan Pidverbetsky, UNFPA Ukraine Sexual and Reproductive Health Officer.

According to a needs assessment of medical staff in connection with COVID-19, conducted by UNFPA Ukraine in 2020, it is women who most often need additional personal hygiene products, because prolonged wearing of protective suits exacerbates additional discomfort and often makes impossible timely hygienic care, especially under menstruation time, etc. That is why providing female doctors and nurses with such kits will contribute to greater comfort in the workplace, reduce possible cases of gender discrimination etc.

Background information:

The European Union and UNFPA join their efforts to provide gender-responsive emergency support to address the COVID-19 aftermath and strengthen gender equality in Ukraine within the flagship programme ‘WE ACT: Women Empowerment Action’. The Programme is aimed to protect women from gender-based violence (GBV), remove barriers for women’s leadership and support female frontline  healthcare responders to COVID-19. More(link is external) about the Programme.

For additional information, please contact Alona Zubchenko via zubchenko@unfpa.org