from ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – RAPE and sexual violence during the conflict in northern Ethiopia have sparked HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancy crises in the region.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) raised concern at the catastrophe that has led to children infected.
The agency noted across Afar, Amhara and Tigray regions, health facilities were reporting sexual violence-related complications, including injuries, unwanted pregnancies while other cases were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
Some victim endured obstetric complications, including fistula.
In Tigray, among the women and girls who got tested for HIV/AIDS, 3 percent of them are HIV positive.
Ayder’s One-Stop-Centre confirmed the infection rate.
Rape and sexual abuse have been among the hallmarks of the crisis that has been raging since late 2020.
It followed the regional Tigray government falling out with the federal administration.
The health sector has borne the brunt.
“The conflict-driven displacement is pushing malnutrition rates up, with children and pregnant and lactating women particularly impacted by hunger,” said a UNFPA official.
Access to maternal and newborn care services has suffered massive setbacks due to the critical shortage of skilled healthcare providers, medical supplies and damage to health infrastructure.
This has led to a phenomenal increase in maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity.
A majority of hospitals and health centers as well as ambulances have been looted, damaged and vandalised.
Nearly 7 000 health workers have fled.
– CAJ News