Restoring reproductive health access for millions in Boko Haram-affected areas

A brutal attack by Boko Haram forced Zainab Abubakar, 28, and her six children to flee their home in northern Nigeria. “I was one month pregnant when I left Gamboru Ngala,” Ms. Abubakar told UNFPA from the Dalori displacement camp in Maiduguri. “During my escape, I lost my pregnancy.”

Ms. Abubakar’s tragic miscarriage took place in 2014, but the Boko Haram crisis continues to drive women and girls from their homes – and from access to basic health care.

An estimated 26 million people live in conflict-affected areas of Nigeria, according to the 2017 Humanitarian Needs Overview, and some 14 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. In the three states worst affected by the insurgency – Adamawa, Borno and Yobe – some 1.64 million people have been displaced from their homes, according to recent UN reports.

UNFPA estimates that, among the vulnerable population, 1,725,000 women of reproductive age will require life-saving reproductive health services in 2017.

“For women and girls – especially pregnant women, who may face life-threatening childbirth complications, as well as lactating women, caring for newborns throughout the chaos – whether they live or die in a crisis often depends on their access to basic sexual and reproductive health services,” said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of UNFPA, during a recent mission to northern Nigeria.