Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Public Health Leadership Program
Approximately one in four individuals requiring humanitarian assistance are women of reproductive age (15–49). A minimum standard was established to address reproductive health in humanitarian settings (RHHS), but RHHS still remains a largely unmet need. This systematic review intends to update readers on current RHHS practices and programs; discuss the impediments to bridging short-term humanitarian responses and long-term development strategies; and provide recommendations for human-development focused, non-governmental organization leaders to better address reproductive health (RH) and family planning (FP) in humanitarian crises. The systematic review included peer-reviewed, quantitative evaluations of RH programs in humanitarian or crisis settings reporting outcome data published in English between January 2014 and March 2019. Ten papers set in five countries met the outlined inclusion criteria from a total of 684 papers identified through the Africa-Wide Information, Academic Search Premier, and Global Health databases. Four papers reported on family planning programs and six on maternal and newborn health (MNH). Evidence from the evaluations reported sexual and reproductive health (SRH) interventions that strengthen existing health system care delivery, apply quality improvement (QI) methodologies, and use of community health worker home-visits to increase SRH knowledge and use of services. Effective coordination is necessary to bridge the recovery gap between humanitarian relief and development. The relatively narrow RHHS literature base highlights the need for further generation of evidence to identify best practices and inform future program implementation. Human development non-governmental organizations have an opportunity to bridge the humanitarian relief and development nexus gap by increasing their internal capacity and expanding their expertise to humanitarian settings.