COVID-19: 47m women likely to lack contraceptives – UNFPA

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The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) says that due to the coronavirus pandemic, about 47 million women in low and middle-income countries are likely to lack access to contraceptives drugs.

Dr Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) made this known in a statement released by Mrs Kori Habib, the Media Associate of the fund in Abuja, on Saturday.

Kanem said in her speech of “peace in the home”, safeguarding the health and rights of women and girls even during COVID-19, in commemoration of World Population Day (WPD).

The impact of COVID-19 would likely hamper global efforts to achieve three ‘zeros’ at the heart of our UNFPA’s works.

The World Population day is a United Nations’ initiative, celebrated on July 11 every year, the day aims at spreading awareness about the exploding world population and the importance of reproductive health.

She stated her regrets to the possible set back in achieving the three zero -zero unmet need for contraception, zero preventable maternal deaths, and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls by 2030.

UNFPA projects, for example, that the pandemic will cut global progress towards ending gender-based violence within this decade by at least one third.

“47 million women in low- and middle-income countries may be deprived of modern contraceptives, resulting in seven million unintended pregnancies”, Kanem said.
The Executive Director said that peace in the world had its beginning with peace in the home, describing Gender Based Violence as a pandemic within the COVID-19 pandemic,

COVID-19 crisis has taken a staggering toll on people, communities and economies everywhere, noting that not everyone was affected equally as women and girls tend to suffer most.

Kanem expressed worry over how one woman in three has experienced physical or sexual violence in her lifetime.

Now, with countries on lockdown and household tensions heightened, gender-based violence is on the rise, and sexual and reproductive health services are being sidelined by health systems struggling to cope with COVID-19,” She added.

Kanem however reiterated calls for global attention to the vulnerabilities and needs of women and girls during the COVID-19 crisis aimed at protecting sexual and reproductive health and rights and ending the shadow pandemic of gender-based violence.

UNFPA is working to ensure that the supply of modern contraceptives and reproductive health commodities is maintained and that midwives and other health personnel have the personal protective equipment they need to stay safe.

As part of our COVID-19 response, we are innovating to deliver remote services such as hotlines, telemedicine and counseling, and gathering and using disaggregated data to support governments in identifying and reaching those most in need.

The UNFPA boss said sexual and reproductive health care was a right and like pregnancies and childbirth, human rights could not stop for pandemics.

According to her, together let’s put the brakes on COVID-19 and safeguard the health and rights of women and girls now! canvassed for global synergy between countries and organizations saying no organization or country could do this alone.

Suzan O