EHS-COVID (477) Q1 What have we learned? (7) Impact of COVID-19 on women and girls

25 November, 2021

"Q1: Looking back over the past 18 months, in what ways has COVID-19 affected your work? What impact has COVID-19 had on your organisation or your health facility? How have things changed over time and where are you now?"

Back in August 2020 a Lancet paper 'COVID-19 has devastating effect on women and girls' referred to a World Report on the impact of COVID-19 on women and girls. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31679-2/fulltext

Extracts below:

'WHO issued interim guidance for maintaining essential services during an outbreak, which included advice to prioritise services related to reproductive health and make efforts to avert maternal and child mortality and morbidity... As the pandemic spread, many countries implemented tough lockdowns and travel restrictions in a bid to slow transmission. In doing so, some governments did not heed WHO's advice, and instead forced sexual and reproductive health services to close because these services were not classified as essential...

'UNFPA predicts there could be up to 7 million unintended pregnancies worldwide because of the crisis, with potentially thousands of deaths from unsafe abortion and complicated births due to inadequate access to emergency care.'

Question: We are now 15 months on from this paper. What have we learned? What is the situation in specific countries? What are the barriers and drivers to quality health care? What measures have been taken to deal with the situation, and have these helped? I look forward to hear about the experience in your country and your work.

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator, neil@hifa.org www.hifa.org