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COVID-19: How We’re Responding

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Through the @Hewlett_Found-supported project in West and Central Africa, we partner with @JVSAssociation in Bénin to create an enabling environment for youth access to #SRHR, including safe abortions.

Check out their "My Choice" twitter campaign! ⬇️

In anticipation of International Women’s Day on March 8, we’ll spend the week highlighting programs that are contributing to a more gender equal world. Stay tuned for #InternationalWomensDay Spotlights!

How we're advancing #genderequality through #SRHR: ➡️http://bit.ly/GE-SRHR

Addressing fistula is key to advancing #SRHR.

Since 2005, EngenderHealth has supported over 45,000 fistula repairs thanks to @USAID. Learn about advancements in fistula care across Africa & Asia at our event on March 8: http://bit.ly/FCPlus-Webinar

@fistulacare @USAIDGH #IWD2021

The @USAID-funded @fistulacare project takes a diverse approach to reducing barriers to fistula care. A key component of preventing fistula is expanding access to high-quality sexual and reproductive health services.

➡️Learn more: http://bit.ly/FCPlus-Webinar

#IWD2021 @USAIDGH

EngenderHealth supports capacity building & GBV awareness creation at Arbaminch Hospital, an integrated care center for GBV screening, counseling, treatment, and legal aid in Ethiopia. We were honored to host state officials to learn about successes & challenges in this model.

Yesterday, you heard about fistula from the @USAID-funded @fistulacare Plus project. To learn about how we’ve worked with partners to prevent & treat fistula over 15 years, join @fistulacare & @usaidGH for “Towards a Fistula-Free Future” on March 8!

➡️http://bit.ly/FCPlus-Webinar

Warmest congratulations to Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the new U.S. Ambassador to the @UN. We @UNFPA wish you every success and look forward to working with you to protect the health and advance the rights of women and girls around the world. @LindaT_G @USUN

http://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/23/us/politics/linda-thomas-greenfield-ambassador-united-nations.html

Also, mark your calendars for March 8, 2021! We are hosting a virtual event on #InternationalWomensDay entitled, “Towards a Fistula-Free Future: 15 Years of Breakthroughs and Program Impact.” Register today: http://bit.ly/FCPlus-Webinar

Thanks everyone! The FC+ website is a great place to start for more information and resources on fistula prevention and treatment, including research results, project reports, and stories from providers and clients. http://bit.ly/fistularesources https://twitter.com/EngenderHealth/status/1364608432880443393

Obstetric fistula is a beacon of inequality, as it occurs where women are already living with limited resources and access to healthcare. Additionally, once fistula occurs, women often face significant stigma and isolation which can impact their social and economic wellbeing. https://twitter.com/EngenderHealth/status/1364605591528886273

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April 28, 2020

Protecting Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Progress in a Pandemic

By Traci L. Baird

From the moment the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, EngenderHealth has recognized that our work and the work of our global partners on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) will be more critical than ever.

Tanzania family

A family outside of a health center in Tanzania. Photo credit: EngenderHealth/Sala Lewis

During public health crises, resources are often pulled away from routine health services even though this is the time when people need them most to prevent pregnancy, address violence, and protect their sexual and reproductive health (SRH).

We have seen in our programs that COVID-19 is amplifying existing gaps and problems—of the unmet need for contraception, lack of choice or quality in health services, lack of access to hotlines and shelters, and lack of availability of services like fistula repair or cancer screening.

A report released by UNFPA has put magnitudes to these gaps. No longer are we only concerned about decreased access to contraception when economic realities mean more people are seeking to delay pregnancy; now, we are anticipating millions of additional women unable to use contraception, even in a best-case-scenario regarding the pandemic.

The report estimates that if the COVID-19-precipitated lockdowns have “medium health service disruption” and last 3 months, 23 million more women will not have access to desired contraception and will experience 600,000 additional unintended pregnancies, above the pre-pandemic levels of unmet need and unintended pregnancy. A 6-month lockdown with medium health system disruption, it estimates, would result in 4 million unintended pregnancies, above baseline levels.

EngenderHealth is working with our partner ministries of health as well as local and international NGOs to ensure that SRH services, including contraception, are considered essential and that they are provided safely. Additionally, we have shared clinical guidance and are working at the country level to support supply-chain efforts, dissemination of information to healthcare providers and communities, and creative options to reduce contact time for contraceptive services while offering a range of methods.

We know that during health and economic crises—especially those that keep people at home when their homes are not safe—there are surges in gender-based violence. UNFPA’s modeling anticipates 15 million additional cases of intimate partner violence (IPV) for every 3 months that countries are locked down due to the pandemic.

At the same time, the projection of a potential 13 million additional child marriages and 2 million additional girls experiencing female genital mutilation (FGM) during the decade that would otherwise not have occurred must stop us in our tracks and prompt us to work with local partners on programs to accelerate our work on gender and rights within the context of comprehensive SRHR.

EngenderHealth staff are confirming which local services for GBV and IPV survivors continue to operate to ensure that referral mechanisms are reaching functional services, and our partners are supporting health facilities in providing emergency care, including emergency contraception and post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention.

We appreciate UNFPA’s leadership in raising awareness of the likely full impact of the pandemic on access to contraception and the risks of GBV, FGM, and child marriage. The projected loss of hard-won progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals related to health, gender equality, education, and reducing inequalities is tragic. But we have faced, endured, and risen above tragedy before.

EngenderHealth commits to joining our partners around the globe to draw on our collective experience to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic, and to develop and apply innovations to reestablish and accelerate progress on SRHR.

 

Related Links

The Guardian: ‘Calamitous’: domestic violence set to soar by 20% during global lockdown

 

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