While humanitarian groups have prioritized giving food and water to those affected by the devastating earthquake in Nepal, another vital form of aid has been overlooked in the disaster's aftermath: sanitary pads.
That's why advocacy group Loom launched "Support 10,000 Women" -- a campaign aiming to provide feminine health products like pads, undergarments and basic hygiene kits to 10,000 women in 15 days, TakePart reported.
The initiative also focuses on new and expecting mothers -- a group that is especially vulnerable after natural disaster strikes. New and expecting mothers require medical care that's often difficult to access in the chaos of a disaster's aftermath.
Items provided by Loom include baby clothes and blankets, baby oil, diapers and formula, according to the Nepali Times.
"There's a lot of mobilization of young people and also from the government side working for relief," Ursula Singh, the group's program officer, told International Business Times. "But there's hardly anybody thinking about the hygiene of women."
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is another organization prioritizing the needs of affected girls, women and new moms in Nepal. The group's emergency staff members are delivering reproductive health kits -- filled with tools that help ensure safety during deliveries -- and dignity kits, which contain items like soap, sanitary napkins and toothbrushes.
“In times of upheaval or natural disasters, pregnancy-related deaths and gender-based violence soar,” Priya Marwah, a UNFPA humanitarian response coordinator, said in a statement.
Items used to stay clean during menstruation will become more and more important as time goes on, International Business Times noted, as women living in displaced camps often lack access to private toilet facilities.
The magnitude-7.8 earthquake on April 25 has caused widespread death and destruction in Nepal. On Sunday, the Nepalese government reported 7,040 deaths due to the disaster, the Associated Press noted, and providing much-needed aid to those in remote areas has proven difficult for humanitarian groups.
Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said the total number of deaths could reach 10,000, according to Reuters.
Despite the destruction, however, Nepal's health care system is coping relatively well under the circumstances, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported last week. In affected areas, most hospitals have been able to function without a need for extra staff or beds, and no makeshift camps for displaced people have reported increases in disease or outbreaks.
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