Please note: This archive was last updated in 2005.

RHO archives : Topics : Refugee Reproductive Health


Updated October 13, 2004

Listed below are useful web resources on refugee reproductive health. The entries are organized under the following categories:

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If you know of a resource to be included in this list, please send the URL (web address) and a description to: [email protected].


American Refugee Committee International (ARC)
This nonprofit, humanitarian assistance organization works to support the survival, health, and well-being of refugees and displaced persons. Its programs provide assistance in primary health care delivery (including reproductive health services), improved water and sanitation, shelter reconstruction, micro-credit schemes, environmental services, and psychosocial services. Posted online are descriptions of ARC programs around the world. ARC also is a member of the Reproductive Health for Refugees (RHR) Consortium.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
The CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health (DRH) began a formal refugee program in 1998 and has recently increased its focus on refugee reproductive health. It has also broadened its definition of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs); it now works with those not only in post-emergency camps but also those in the emergency phase, those returning to their countries of origin, and those who have integrated into the local host community. The CDC designs and implements epidemiologic investigations to evaluate reproductive health status in refugee and IDP settings and provides information for services. It also strives to translate and communicate study findings and best practices to the refugee, NGO, and donor communities.

Center for Reproductive Rights
The Center for Reproductive Rights, formerly known as the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP), is a nonprofit legal organization dedicated to ensuring that all women—including refugees—have access to appropriate and freely chosen reproductive health services. Their site reviews the international legal and policy framework underlying refugee rights. Posted online in October 2001 is Refugees and Their Reproductive Rights (

Columbia University's Heilbrunn Center for Population and Family Health
In the past five years, refugee service agencies and reproductive health organizations have pooled their expertise to address the reproductive health needs of forced migrants around the world. The Heilbrunn Center has worked with these agencies, particularly the members of the Reproductive Health for Refugees (RHR) Consortium, to conduct applied research, develop and test field-friendly guidelines, and train staff.

International Rescue Committee (IRC)
This nonprofit aid organization provides relief, protection, and resettlement services for refugees and victims of oppression and violent conflict, and is a founding member of the Reproductive Health for Refugees (RHR) Consortium. IRC's health initiatives include a child survival program in Rwanda, a sexual and gender-based violence program in Tanzania, and adolescent peer educators in Kosovo. Posted online are a series of detailed, highly informative field reports analyzing the challenges and achievements of some of IRC's reproductive health programs.

Marie Stopes International (MSI)
A founding member of the Reproductive Health for Refugees (RHR) Consortium, MSI is working to institutionalize reproductive health care in refugee settings in nine countries around the world. In addition to reviewing each of these programs, MSI's web site has a series of six RHR Consortium fact sheets available for downloading ( The fact sheets cover technical areas of reproductive health in refugee settings, including safe motherhood, family planning, sexual and gender violence, STIs, and emergency obstetric care.

Refugees International
This advocacy organization uses diplomacy and the power of the press to mobilize governments and engage the United Nations to help refugees around the world. It conducts on-the-ground emergency assessments to pave the way for relief agencies and human rights organizations. Bulletins and reports on womens issues, including gender violence, can be found at

Reproductive Health Response in Conflict Consortium (RHRC Consortium)
The RHRC Consortium (formerly the Reproductive Health Consortium for Refugees, or RHR Consortium) advocates for the inclusion of reproductive health care in refugee health services; develops guidelines, training modules, and other field tools to improve the quality of those services; offers technical and financial support to increase the number of organizations offering reproductive health services to refugees; and disseminates information on reproductive health in refugee settings. This site reviews reproductive health problems facing refugees, discusses potential solutions, and presents case studies from around the world. Many key publications, including a global review of refugee reproductive health and a series of field tools, are available for downloading. Advocacy materials also are posted online, as is information on applying to the Consortium's Small Grants Program. Contact information and Internet links for each of the seven member organizations are listed. These include the American Refugee Committee, CARE, Columbia University's Heilbrunn Center for Population and Family Health, the International Rescue Committee, JSI Research and Training Institute, Marie Stopes International, and the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children.

UNFPA Relief Efforts
During conflicts and natural disasters, UNFPA works to save the lives of women and newborn babies by providing comprehensive reproductive health care services and needed emergency reproductive health care supplies. This site describes UNFPA's humanitarian response during many recent emergencies, including the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor, and Kosovo. Also posted here are reports on the challenges faced in providing reproductive health in emergencies and a description of what support UNFPA provides in crisis situations.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
UNHCR's mandate is (1) to ensure that states are aware of and act on their obligations to protect refugees and (2) to assist refugees who cannot meet their own basic needs.There is a wealth of information available at the UNHCR web site, including statistics on the number and locations of refugees, breaking news about refugees and crisis situations, country profiles, technical reports, back issues of magazines, slideshow presentations, and magazines.Over the past few years, UNHCR has developed special initiatives to meet the needs of refugee women ( The site, which is available in English, French, German, Japanese, and Korean, also includes a section on adolescents and children (

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
Since 1950, UNRWA has provided humanitarian assistance to Palestinian refugees. It is the main health care provider for the Palestine refugee population. This website, which is available in English and Arabic, includes a description of health services offered by UNRWA.

U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR)
This watchdog organization, founded in 1958, works for refugee protection and assistance in all regions of the world. Each year, the USCR publishes a World Refugee Survey, available online at, which reports comprehensive refugee statistics and describes conditions for refugees and internally displaced persons in 120 countries. Also available at the USCR website are news about refugee hot-spots and access to a Refugee Resource Network designed to help activists, academics, administrators and employees of refugee-aid organizations share information.

Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children
This advocacy and expert resource organization monitors the care and protection of refugee women, adolescents, and children; draws the attention of international organizations, governments, and voluntary agencies to their concerns; and provides technical assistance to refugee programs. One of the major projects of the Women's Commission is promoting access to reproductive health care. Posted online are a variety of reports and slideshows on conditions facing refugee women around the world and policy studies on adolescents and gender issues.

World Health Organization, Emergency and Humanitarian Action (EHA)
EHA helps countries prepare for emergencies and mitigate their health consequences. This website promotes best public health practices in humanitarian situations by providing links to up-to-date technical guidance on what to do and what not to do, how to prepare, and how to respond in case of emergencies. Guidance on best practices covers mental health issues, HIV/AIDS, and reproductive health issues including emergency contraception, STIs, and prenatal and delivery care. The website also provides easy access to documents related to specific countries or emergency situations. A special issue of the newsletter "Health in Emergencies," which focused on reproductive health, is available at

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Conference Proceedings (forthcoming): RHRC Conference 2003: Reproductive Health From Disaster to Development, Brussels, Belgium, October 7-8, 2003
This second international research conference was cohosted by the Reproductive Health Response in Conflict (RHRC) Consortium (formerly the Reproductive Health for Refugees Consortium), UNFPA, UNHCR, and their conference collaborating partner, International Centre for Reproductive Health at Ghent University. Currently available online are a book of abstracts ( and many conference reports (; full conference proceedings are forthcoming.

Conference Proceedings: Findings on Reproductive Health of Refugees and Displaced Populations, Washington, DC , December 5-6, 2000 under "Resources"
Cohosted by the Reproductive Health for Refugees Consortium, Global Health Council, and InterAction, this conference covered key elements of refugee reproductive health (including pregnancy and delivery, sexual and gender-based violence, family planning, HIV/STIs, and adolescent services) as well as implementation challenges, the collection and use of data, and efforts to improve service delivery systems in post-conflict settings. The online proceedings include detailed abstracts for all of the presentations and posters. Together they give a broad overview of both the research and program activities going on in the field of refugee reproductive health.

Forced Migration Review
Published three times a year in English, Spanish, and Arabic, this journal provides a forum for debate on the most immediate issues facing refugees and internally displaced people and those working with them. Articles analyze policy issues, share experience, present recommendations, and set out guidelines for best practice. A special 1995 issue on women and reproductive health ( includes articles on the reproductive health needs of refugee women, gender issues, legal issues, STIs/HIV services, the needs of adolescent refugees, and constraints on delivering health services to refugees. The December 2000 issue focuses on gender issues, including rape and violence and women's empowerment ( The journal is produced by the Refugee Studies Centre, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford ( in collaboration with the Norwegian Refugee Council (

Gender & Humanitarian Assistance Resource Kit
This resource kit is intended to help agencies implement the UN policy of mainstreaming gender into humanitarian responses to emergencies. The kit brings together a wealth of information in five areas: gender mainstreaming, policies and standards, analytical documents, best practices, guidelines and checklists, and tools for planning and training. Reproductive health and the prevention of violence against women and girls are among the topics covered.

Gender-Based Violence Bibliography
The GBV Initiative, a project of the RHR Consortium, has produced a web-based bibliography to improve international and local capacity to address gender-based violence (GBV) among refugee and internally displaced populations. Training tools, manuals, and other literature listed here have been selected specifically for their quality and relevance for work with refugees and internally displaced persons who have survived GBV, though many resources may have wider applicability. This resource will open in a separate browser window.

Global IDP Survey
Sponsored by the Norwegian Refugee Council, this project has created a global database on internally displaced persons (IDPs) that can be accessed online. Also available are training materials on IDPs, survey publications, and articles published in the Forced Migration Review.

Links: Special Issue on Gender Equity and Humanitarian Response
The March 2001 issue of Oxfams Links newsletter discusses the difficulty of incorporating gender considerations into emergency response programs. Several articles describe programs responding to armed conflict and natural disasters, while others provide guidance on how to add a gender perspective to humanitarian efforts.

The Refugee Experience: Psychosocial Training Module
Based on a course offered at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, this training module is designed for humanitarian workers and refugee policy makers. It consists of about 30 hours of training materials that can either be read by individual learners or used for group training by facilitators; instructions for both are included. Materials include a video lecture on psychosocial responses to forced migration; discussion guides on the nature of conflict, gender, childrens psychosocial needs, and non-western concepts of mental health; a series of responses and comments; technical papers on psychological paradigms and psychosocial programming; training manuals on community participation and communication and helping skills; and a cross-cultural simulation game. The module is available in print and on CD-ROM as well as online.

Reproductive Health Kits
UNFPA has developed 16 “Reproductive Health Kits” containing basic commodities to allow comprehensive reproductive health services to be offered for people in emergency situations such as temporary displacement due to natural disaster or war. The kits are divided into three categories; Block 1 consists of six subkits for the support of a population of 10,000 people for three months. Block 2 consists of five subkits with supplies for 30,000 people for three months. The Block 3 kits are to be used at the referral/surgical obstetric level and compose of two kits sufficient to support 150,000 people for three months. The kits contain, among other items, commodities for management of the complications of abortions, safe delivery, sexually transmitted infections, suture and cervical and vaginal tears and blood transfusion.
A detailed description of the contents of the Reproductive Health Kits is available free of charge on CD-ROM in French and English. To request a CD-ROM, please contact Thidar Myint at [email protected].

Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Bibliography
This online information resource is designed to help staff address gender-based violence among refugees and internally displaced people and in post-conflict settings. It lists training tools, manuals, and other literature relevant to these populations. Materials are organized into five broad areas (prevention, protection, direct services, assessment, and sustainability), each of which is subdivided into narrower topics for ease of use. The bibliography also includes some background materials that address the broader context of refugee issues as well as links to other organizations and websites where relevant information can be found. The bibliography, which is a project of the Reproductive Health for Refugees (RHR) Consortium, will be periodically revised so that it remains current.

Sexual Health Exchange
In 2000, this newsletter devoted a special issue to the influence of conflict and war on sexual and reproductive health. Included are policy and program articles that discuss HIV/AIDS, postabortion care, and sexual violence among refugees. Programs in Colombia, Central Africa, Mexico, Palestine, and Sudan are featured.

United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR): How To Guides under "Resources"
Each publication in this series documents a single field experience that illustrates an innovative approach to a particular area of reproductive health. The guides are not designed to present a definitive solution to a problem. Rather, their recommendations are designed to be adapted to the particular needs and conditions of other refugee settings. The program descriptions are lengthy and include special protocols, tools, and materials developed by each project. The eight guides published to date include a project to eradicate female genital mutilation among Somali refugees, reproductive health education for adolescents in Guinea, safe motherhood services in Tanzania, and programs to combat sexual and gender-based violence in Tanzania, Guinea, and Liberia.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Expert Meetings
As part of the ICPD+5 review process, UNFPA assembled international experts at a "Technical Meeting on Reproductive Health Services in Crisis Situations" in 1998 ( Posted online are the experts' conclusions on the state of reproductive health services and their recommendations for future interventions and research. A second expert meeting, organized by UNFPA in 2002, focused on "HIV/AIDS in Conflict Situations" ( Participants identified factors that contribute to the spread of HIV during armed conflict and recommended actions to slow the spread.

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