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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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June 24, 2020

Ensuring Contraceptive Choice in India amid COVID-19

An OB-GYN counsels a married couple on contraceptive methods in Bihar, India in 2017. © Paula Bronstein/Getty Images/Images of Empowerment

“Many women like me come from a poor family. We use the contraceptives at government hospitals because they are free,” said Geeta*, a 25-year-old mother of two from Gujarat, India.

Not long after the birth of her first child, Geeta chose to have an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) inserted for free at a nearby government hospital so she could determine the timing of her second pregnancy.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused challenges for women like Geeta. On March 24, India implemented a nationwide lockdown considered one of the strictest in the world, which made it cumbersome, and at times impossible, for people to travel to health facilities for contraceptives.

While lockdown measures were recently eased at a national level, there are still hundreds of “containment zones” with restrictions in place, and many people in the country continue to have difficulty accessing contraceptive services and supplies.

Even if someone can get to a health facility or has access to home-based contraceptive services through a community health worker, there is no guarantee that the contraceptive method of their choice will be in stock due to pandemic-related disruptions to contraceptive supply chains.

Devastating impacts

A recent policy brief by the Foundation for Reproductive Health Services India (FRHS India) estimated that, due to the pandemic, millions of Indians will not be able to access their chosen contraceptive methods and that there will be a loss of 709,088 IUCDs, 509,360 doses of contraceptive injections, 20 million cycles of oral contraceptive pills, 827,332 emergency contraceptive pills, 530,737 permanent methods, and 342.11 million condoms.

EngenderHealth-trained nurse Manisha Wagh. © Hemalata Koli

EngenderHealth-trained senior staff nurse Manisha Wagh. © Hemalata Koli

Even in a best-case scenario in which contraceptive services are at full capacity by July, FRHS India estimates that 24.55 million couples in the country would not have been able to access contraceptives in 2020.

Manisha Wagh, an EngenderHealth-trained senior staff nurse working at a government hospital in Maharashtra, India, believes that “there will be many unwanted pregnancies and abortions” if people cannot obtain the contraceptive methods of their choice and, in turn, forego the use of contraception altogether.

“If clients don’t get the method of their choice, they usually don’t accept other methods,” said Wagh.

In fact, FRHS India estimates that, if the situation does not normalize, the country will experience an additional 1.94 million unintended pregnancies and 1.18 million abortions (including 681,883 unsafe abortions).

Resolving contraceptive stockouts

EngenderHealth’s India team has been working in the states of Karnataka and Maharashtra to strengthen the systems of 144 health facilities—around 40 of which are in lock-downed “containment zones”—to ensure they are fully stocked with available contraceptive methods. To date, the team’s efforts have helped to resolve contraceptive stockouts at roughly 37 of those facilities.

EngenderHealth Clinical Trainer Dr. Apurva Akre (right). © Dr. Shital Chavan

EngenderHealth Clinical Trainer Dr. Apurva Akre. © Dr. Shital Chavan

The hospital where Wagh works is one such facility—in April, it experienced stockouts of IUCDs and nonsteroidal oral contraceptive pills.

“Due to the lockdown’s travel restrictions we were not able to go to the district store to get [contraceptive] stocks. We also do not have enough manpower to do this; everyone is busy with screening COVID-19 patients,” said Wagh.

After learning about the hospital’s stockouts from Wagh, EngenderHealth Clinical Trainer Dr. Apurva Akre coordinated with district health officials to find an alternative way to make sure that contraceptive stocks were supplied to the facility.

“I will support facilities to restock [contraceptives] in every way possible,” said Dr. Akre.

Now that the lockdown in India has started to ease up in some areas, Dr. Akre and others on the team are working to ensure that EngenderHealth-supported facilities have the proper systems and coordination mechanisms in place to maintain contraceptive stocks throughout the remainder of the pandemic and upcoming recovery phase.

“We are continuously communicating with our providers and facilities…and also conducting virtual orientations for them through online platforms,” said Dr. Akre.

“If facilities face stockouts of contraception, women and girls will not be able to get the method of their choice,” she said.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

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