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Improving sexual and reproductive health services for displaced populations

Options co-authors an article on improving SRH services for displaced populations, for the Global Health: Science and Practice journal

Options has published a new paper, Considerations for Programme Managers to Improve Sexual and Reproductive Health Services for Displaced Populations, in the Global Health: Science and Practice journal.  

The article, co-authored with experts from the International Rescue Committee (IRC), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and MSI Reproductive Choices, looks at lessons and insights from the UK aid funded Women’s Integrated Sexual Health (WISH) programme, and presents recommendations for programme managers to support the delivery of high-quality services for displaced populations. 

WISH has operated across 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia and aims to improve the delivery of integrated sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and family planning (FP) services, supports individual knowledge and choice, and strengthens national stewardship to create an enabling and sustainable environment for advancing SRHR and FP. 

Our insights focus on four recommendations we believe can support the delivery of high-quality and accessible SRH and FP services in situations of crisis and/or for migrant populations.  

“These recommendations are based on five years of operational programme experience, working with partners across multiple countries,” says Patricia Doherty, co-author and Assistant Technical Director at Options. “As climate change and conflict drive increased migration both within and beyond borders, it is more important than ever that the particular needs of displaced groups are taken into account in the delivery of services and their rights protected and respected.” 

The article also highlights the need for adaptive programming in contexts where circumstances and actors are constantly changing. It uses Options’ Pathways of Change tool as an example of an innovative approach that enables integration between development and humanitarian programming. The tool supports a programme to rapidly shift to acute response when a crisis occurs and ensure that vulnerable populations are not left behind. 

Whilst these recommendations are a move towards better understanding SRH needs and services in the humanitarian context, more needs to be done and published to understand how these services can be better integrated into country-owned systems. Interventions that combine humanitarian and development programming can support more resilient health systems while recognising and prioritising the needs of vulnerable population groups, including displaced persons living in crisis, transitory, and stable settings. 

Options’ experts who contributed to the published paper are Patricia Doherty, Assistant Technical Director, Ahmed Omar, Assistant Director of Programmes and Options Regional Team Lead for WISH,  and Alexandra Todd, US Director.  


UK aid
Focus areas
Reproductive health and Family Planning