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World News in Brief: Ukraine nuclear plant update, Sudan health crisis, reproductive rights

Addressing the opening of the IAEA’s General Conference in Vienna on Monday, Mr. Grossi said that 53 missions mobilizing more than 100 agency staff have been deployed as part of a continued presence inside Ukraine’s five nuclear power plants.

These include the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, or ZNPP, on the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine, where Mr. Grossi said that the situation remained “very fragile”.

‘Courageous service’ by IAEA staff

The ZNPP is controlled by Russian forces but operated by its Ukrainian staff. It is Europe’s largest nuclear plant and the IAEA has been monitoring the situation there since the early days of the conflict.

In a message read out at the opening of the General Conference, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that he applauded the “courageous service” of IAEA personnel stationed at the plant. He pledged that the UN will continue to do “all it can” to ensure the safe rotation of experts operating across Ukraine’s five nuclear facilities.

Chad: Sudan refugee health crisis escalating warns WHO

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) has called for urgent funding support in the face of a growing health crisis in eastern Chad, where over 400,000 people have fled the brutal military civil war in Sudan during the past five months.

The Senior Advisor to WHO’s regional office for Africa, Dr Ramesh Krishnamurthy, stressed the need to “ramp up” interventions in the areas of primary healthcare, mental health, maternal and child health, as well as nutrition. 

WHO said on Sunday that in a recent screening in Chad, nearly 13,000 children under five were found to be acutely malnourished.

Hospital admissions of children with malnutrition have increased by more than half across the province of Ouaddaï, which is hosting more than 80 per cent of refugees from neighbouring Sudan.

In Ouaddaï, the UN health agency has continued to deliver critical aid to the town of Adré just a few hundred metres from the Sudanese border, working with partners to support the incoming refugees with health services, vaccination and medicines.

To date, WHO has delivered 80 metric tonnes of supplies to Adré, most recently handing over beds and mattresses to support medical and surgical care.

Reproductive rights must be respected in crises

States must ensure the right to sexual and reproductive health without discrimination, in particular in humanitarian crises, UN-appointed independent rights experts said on Monday.

The experts, who include the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health Tlaleng Mofokeng, warned of an “exacerbated” risk of violations of sexual and reproductive health rights in situations of emergency, humanitarian or conflict settings.

Women and girls are especially vulnerable to serious harm, the experts said, and urged countries to ensure access to modern contraceptive methods including emergency contraception, and access to legal and safe abortion.

They called for training for healthcare providers on safe abortion and aftercare, where resources are limited.

Welcoming decriminalisation

The experts also welcomed the “decriminalisation of abortion in some countries”. Earlier this month, Mexico’s Supreme Court abolished all federal criminal penalties for abortion and ruled that national laws prohibiting it were unconstitutional.

According to WHO, ensuring women and girls have access to safe, respectful and non-discriminatory abortion care is fundamental to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals relating to good health and well-being as well as gender equality.

WHO has also said that while contraceptive services are fundamental to health and human rights, over 200 million women in developing regions have an unmet need for contraception.

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