As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout the world, concerns are rising about the effect of the virus on women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health, and their access to contraceptive care. Past humanitarian crises have shown that when there is a disruption in the supply and access to routine health care services, it is women and girls’ who are disproportionately affected, simply by virtue of their sex.
In an attempt to halt the spread of the virus, governments across the world have ordered sexual and reproductive health services to close, on the grounds that these services do not meet the ‘essential’ criteria. The reallocation and reprioritisation of these services have only exacerbated rates of neonatal and maternal mortality and morbidity, increased rates of adolescent and unwanted pregnancies, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Forced closures have also ensured that women and girls have been discouraged from accessing safe abortion services, putting the lives of themselves and their unborn babies in serious danger.
This article will explore the ways in which Covid-19 has disrupted the provision and supply of sexual and reproductive health services, with a particular focus on contraceptive access for women and girls across the world. Policy recommendations, which can help governments and humanitarian organisations to understand the ways the pandemic exacerbates direct and indirect health impacts on women and girls, will also be explored.Continue reading “The Impact of Covid-19 on Women and Girls’ Sexual and Reproductive Health”