May 18, 2022

Image credit: BBC

Volunteers provide emergency contraceptive pills during the Ukraine war

As reports of rape rise, charities are attempting to provide emergency contraception in Ukrainian hospitals. Nearly 3,000 packs of morning-after pills have been delivered to sections of the country hardest hit by the Russian invasion.

The tablets were donated by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and volunteers are delivering them.

Caroline Hickson, a member of the group, argues that when it comes to distribution, time is crucial.

“[The morning-after pill] has a five-day window of effectiveness in preventing conception,” she explained.

“It’s vital that you get care as soon as possible if you’ve been a victim of gender-based violence because becoming pregnant as a result of rape is tremendously unpleasant.”

Medical abortion pills, which may be used up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, have also been sent by the organisation.

Ms Hickson explained that the pills are available to assist women in a variety of scenarios, including those who are having consensual sex but believe it is not the right time to start a family.

Because there are so many people relocated across Ukraine, it’s difficult for aid workers to determine how many supplies are required in particular places.

Last week, the Ukrainian military pleaded for food and medicine for Mariupol, which has been cut off from humanitarian aid by Russian troops.

The IPPF has been collaborating with the UN Population Fund and the International Medical Corps to introduce tablets into Ukraine.

“The UN agencies, civil society organisations, and the Ministry of Health have joined together to identify the requirements, and they’ve been communicated to those of us working in support,” Ms Hickson said.

Emergency contraception is included in UN kits delivered to women and girls embroiled in conflicts around the world.

In Ukraine, they’ve done the same thing, as well as sent supplies for family planning and childbirth. 

A report discovered proof of Ukrainian women being raped by invading soldiers in areas just outside of Kyiv during the war. Similar stories have been reported by other media sites from Bucha, a city northwest of Kyiv.