Revised Inter-Agency Field Manual on Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings

Posted by Maria Codina on January 7, 2019 at 12:27 pm

The Inter‐Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises (IAWG) is pleased to share the revised Inter-Agency Field Manual on Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings. The Field Manual, which has guided the field of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in crisis settings since its first iteration in 1999, underwent a two-and-a-half-year revision process.

In addition to technical updates, the revised Field Manual now more explicitly identifies the fundamental principles that both undergird the manual and ideally serve as the foundation for all SRH work in humanitarian settings. These principles are 1) work in respectful partnership 2) advance human rights and reproductive rights 3) ensure technical, human rights, and financial accountability; and 4) share information and results. Importantly, the revised manual now includes specific examples of how to operationalize these principles in humanitarian settings.

The 2018 Field Manual includes an expanded Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) –a set of priority sexual and reproductive health interventions that are to be undertaken at the outset of an emergency, ideally within the first 48 hours. Among other changes, the revised MISP now includes an objective on preventing unintended pregnancy and the objective relating to planning for the transition to comprehensive SRH services has been further developed and includes specific reference to health system building blocks, which is intended to strengthen and expedite the transition from the MISP to comprehensive services.  Finally, the 2018 MISP Objectives are accompanied by an additional note on the importance of ensuring that safe abortion care, to the full extent of the law, is available in health centers and facilities.

Another significant change is the inclusion of a new logistics chapter. This chapter maps the key stakeholders and processes that are essential to effective SRH supply chains; provides recommendations on transitioning from emergency to ongoing supply chains; outlines key steps including forecasting, procurement, transportation, and last‐mile distribution; and identifies staff roles and responsibilities for effective supply chain management. The inclusion of this chapter responds directly to feedback from users in the field.

The 2018 Field Manual is the result of a collaborative process that included hundreds of individuals from dozens of agencies and organizations working in humanitarian settings at global, regional, and local levels. The end-users of this manual – SRH coordinators and health program managers – were consulted as a first step in the process and were kept in mind throughout the development of this resource. It was intended to provide technical updates, clarity, and support, and to highlight challenges and key considerations. Nuances of language, attention to inclusivity, feasibility in a variety of resource-constrained settings, and even the graphic design, have been considered at length, always with an eye toward clarity, conciseness, and usability at the field-level. While there are many issues that are decidedly not black and white – as is the nature of the complex settings where we work – IAWG has endeavored to produce a manual that will be above all a useful resource to our colleagues on the front lines.

The revised Field Manual is available here.

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