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Meeting the Needs of Ukrainian Women and Children through a New Grant

Direct Relief
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Direct Relief is providing $583,000 in funding to the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), a long-term partner and prominent worldwide organization.

By Talya Meyers JULY 1, 2022 7:06 AM

Direct Relief has issued a $583,000 grant to the International Confederation of Midwives in response to the Ukraine war. ICM, a prominent organization that represents, supports, advocates for, and educates midwives around the world, will distribute the funding to its member midwives’ associations serving Ukrainian refugee women and their families.

Approximately 90% of the more than 6.5 million people who have fled Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s invasion are women and children. ICM estimates that approximately nine percent of refugee women are pregnant. Refugee women are at increased risk of sexual violence, unwanted pregnancies, exposure to sexually transmitted disease, malnutrition, poor sanitation, and a lack of maternity care, according to ICM.

By conducting a needs assessment of midwives’ associations throughout the region, ICM determined that women and children fleeing the conflict in Ukraine are in particular need of maternal health care, mental health care, hygiene items such as diapers and menstrual care products, and accommodation, among other needs.

“When these events occur, ICM takes immediate action to connect with its midwives’ associations in the impacted region(s) and collect on-the-ground perspectives to understand the specific needs of its members, and the challenges facing midwives in upholding quality care for women and newborns,” explained ICM’s Chief Executive, Dr. Sally Pairman.

The Direct Relief grant is designed to address these needs, supporting midwives’ associations in Europe as they care for Ukrainian refugee women and their families; procure and distribute supplies such as food, hygiene products, and bus and train tickets to women and children; place families in accommodation; and provide other vital services.

“Women and children are disproportionately affected by humanitarian conflict, and in this particular situation, when they form the vast majority of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, understanding and meeting their needs is essential,” said Thomas Tighe, President and CEO of Direct Relief. “The International Confederation of Midwives, with its on-the-ground connections to the midwives’ associations providing maternal and child health care every day, is uniquely positioned to develop a thorough understanding of the situation that refugee individuals and families are facing, and to develop and support strategic approaches to meeting those needs.”

In particular, ICM has designed a rapid response grant process through which midwives’ associations can request funds to support their work caring for Ukrainian refugees. Already, a number of midwives’ associations have requested funds for translators, mental health providers, and other professionals; supplies such as hygiene and sanitary products, bedding, and clothing; and funding for transportation fees.

“Through this new partnership with Direct Relief, we will be able to move from advocacy to action by directly funding the efforts of ICM midwives’ associations to effectively respond to humanitarian emergencies,” Dr. Pairman said.