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Using technology to overcome the challenges caused by covid-19: UNFPA conducts its first donor virtual visit

17 November 2020; Baghdad, Iraq - As COVID-19 infection rates continue to be at high levels across the country, the continuation of services to the vulnerable populations remains a priority to UNFPA. To ensure these services are of quality and meet the needs of women and girls, UNFPA conducted a virtual monitoring visit to the women centre and reproductive health clinic it supports in Barhika camp in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The visit, the first of its kind, included representatives of UNFPA biggest donors; Canada, Australia, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), with UNFPA programme teams and implementing partners Zhian Health Organization and Al Mesalla Organization for Human Resource Development.

Through a Zoom connection, donors were able to tour the two facilities and interact with both the service providers working at these facilities and women receiving services.

The service providers briefed on service delivery amid the COVID-19 outbreak, including the COVID-19 prevention measures taken at the facilities and awareness campaigns conducted in the camp. They answered questions related to the trends that surged during the lockdown and what were the actions taken to mitigate the repercussions, especially those related to women’s health and well-being.

Chairing the visit, Mr Himyar Abdulmoghni, Deputy Representative of UNFPA in Iraq, said: “We are happy to be able to use technology to reassure donors that despite the COVID-19 challenges, UNFPA is still putting women and girls at the top of the priorities. We are grateful to our donors for their trust in UNFPA that enabled us to serve the most vulnerable women and girls during this difficult time. We appreciate our implementing partners for their devotion and we highly appreciate the resilience of women and girls not only in this camp but across Iraq.

At the end of the visit, the donor representatives commented: “We appreciate innovation in these unprecedented time to ensure we continue to hear directly from the implementing partners and from the women who receive assistance from UNFPA. It is vital to understand the value and quality of the services they receive and to see first hand the difference it makes to their lives.”

“As soon as the services [at the centre] resumed, my neighbour and I immediately attended the first session. We were a little hesitant at first because of COVID-19 but we were also tired of staying home all the time. The social workers gave us masks and hygiene kits when we arrived and explained to us how we can protect ourselves and loved one,” said one of the women at the women's centre to the virtual delegation.

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UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact Ms Salwa Moussa, Communications Specialist, smoussa@unfpa.org