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France and UNFPA partner to enhance access to lifesaving care for women and newborns and support GBV survivors in the Libyan south

Tunis, 11 March 2020 - On 6 March, as the world was about to celebrate International Women’s Day, France entrusted UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, with 500,000 Euros to increase access to essential reproductive, maternal and newborn health services and support women protection needs in the South of Libya.

This newly-funded project will support health facilities in the areas of Ghat and Wadi Al Hayat through specialized mobile health teams deployed on a 24/7 basis, social workers and essential medical equipment and medicines to enable the provision of lifesaving care for women and newborns, medical case management for vulnerable group of women, men, boys and girls  and identification and referral of people in need from the community to health facilities. This will include tailored activities to increase awareness of the local community about protection and the integrated reproductive health services available.

“Greater inclusion of women in public life is key to the stabilization in Libya. To ensure such participation, UNFPA and France developed joint initiatives addressing in a tangible way the challenges faced by women. Last year, this partnership was marked by the launch, on December 4th, of the first hotline to support  women in need and other vulnerable persons in partnership with the Libyan Ministry of Social Affairs and PSS Team. Today, this partnership is highlighted by France’s support to an innovative project of the UNFPA in favor of essential reproductive, maternal and newborn health services  ”, stated Béatrice Le Fraper Du Hellen, French Ambassador to Libya. “France is committed to pursue its work with Libyan institutions, health personnel and civil society in protecting women from violence and ensuring their full participation in the community life”.

“Ensuring access to quality reproductive and maternal health services in the underserved areas of South Libya will directly contribute to ending preventable maternal and new born death and is essential to improving family and community well-being. As we celebrate the International Women’s Day, we at UNFPA reiterate our responsibility to lead the UN’s efforts in promoting access for women and young people to reproductive health and reproductive rights, including through strengthening health systems, training midwives, improving education on reproductive health and supporting health services in the most deprived places. This project is the result of a strategic partnership between UNFPA and Libya’s Ministries of Health, Social Affairs and Local Governance, the municipal councils of Ghat and Bent Baya, the Libyan Red Crescent, Tripoli Crisis Management Team and Libya Midwifery Association. With the precious support from the French government, we will collectively support Libya in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 3-Good health and wellbeing and SDG 5-Gender equality.” stressed Ms. Bérangère Böell-Yousfi, Representative of UNFPA in Libya

Instability in Libya has had a devastating impact on health care in particular in the remote areas in the South which are either damaged, difficult to access or suffer from severe shortages in material and human resources, leading to compromised access to lifesaving care, particularly for women and girls. Over 250,000 women of reproductive age are in need for humanitarian assistance throughout Libya. Together, with the Libyan authorities, UNFPA will be working to improve women and girl's access to essential reproductive, maternal and newborn health services in the remote areas of Ghat and Wadi Al Hayat.

Last year, France supported UNFPA Libya with 164,680 Euros to establish a toll-free hotline to help victims access safe and confidential services, including specialized counselling, psychosocial support and referral to multi-sectoral services. The hotline was lunched on 4 December 2019 in Tripoli, jointly with the Libyan Ministry of Social Affairs and the Libyan NGO PSS Team.