Giving Compass’ Take:
• COVID-19 has an extreme impact on maternal health, family planning, and abortion services due to lockdowns and lost income as a result of the pandemic.
• How can donors help fill the gaps for women in need of reproductive health services during this time?
• Read about the impact of COVID-19 on mothers and newborns globally.
The COVID-19 pandemic and strict lockdown in India have affected reproductive services such as maternal health, family planning, and abortion services adversely. While medical facilities and retail chemists were exempted from the lockdown, the curbs on movement, as well as enhanced fear of infection among patients and health providers, resulted in low availability of services. So, while the Government of India deemed RMNCAH+N (Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition) services as essential in mid-April, access and availability continued, and continues, to be a big challenge.
The factors affecting the use of essential health services are on both the supply and the demand sides. On the supply side, there are concerns of fear of exposure, inadequate PPE, staff being infected or under quarantine, redeployment and shortage of trained staff, overstretched health infrastructure and personnel, and lack of beds. There are newspaper reports of health facilities being overwhelmed by large numbers of COVID-19 patients needing management and treatment, especially in the hotspots. On the demand side, there is a lack of information on the status of available services, as well as increased fears and concerns of being exposed, exacerbated by the fact that RMNCH facilities are not stand alone (as they are usually available in hospitals).
Source: Global Financing Facility (GFF), Country Brief India: Preserve Essential Health Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic
This situation has led to a prevailing feeling that gains made in the country to address preventable maternal, newborn, and child mortality and morbidity in the last two decades will be reversed by COVID-19. According to estimates by health experts, millions of couples have lost access to family planning services, and there is an anticipation of an increase in unintended pregnancies, child births, and maternal deaths.
Here is a glimpse of what maternal health, family planning, and abortion services looked like during the lockdown, and what the future might hold as a result.
Read the full article about COVID-19 effects on reproductive health services by Renuka Motihar at India Development Review.
Since you are interested in Women and Girls, have you read these selections from Giving Compass related to impact giving and Women and Girls?
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