Spread the message: Sexual and Reproductive Health services are lifesaving in times of COVID-19!

TOOLKIT

Women and girls face greater dangers during COVID-19 pandemic, why essential sexual and reproductive health services must be maintained?

The COVID-19 pandemic is having potentially catastrophic secondary impacts on the health of women and girls around the world. Decisions made at every level of the response to the pandemic are resulting in women being further cut off from sexual and reproductive health services, threatening sharp rises in maternal and neonatal mortality.

A significant lesson from the West Africa Ebola outbreak of 2014-2016 is that the biggest threat to women’s and girls’ lives was not the Ebola virus, but the shutdown of routine health services and people’s fear of going to health facilities where they could get infected. Thousands more lives were lost when safe delivery, neonatal, and family planning services became inaccessible due to the outbreak. Right now, we are witnessing the same dynamic on a much larger scale.

Video featuring Dr. Manisha Kumar, head of MSF’s Task Force on Safe Abortion Care, describing why safe abortion care and contraception are essential services during COVID-19 and always.

Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care is essential health care. Some of these essential services were already extremely difficult to access in normal times, and COVID-19 has made them even more elusive: especially safe abortion care, contraception, and treatment for sexual violence. Unsafe abortions kill at least 22,800 women and girls every year and injure millions more.

If contraception and safe abortion care remain out of reach, even more women and girls will die. There have been reports of increases in intimate partner violence during lockdown periods all over the world.

Treatment for sexual violence must be made accessible during lockdown and efforts must be made to reach people with information on how to access this care. These are essential services, during COVID-19 and always.


Sexual violence program Mathare – Nairobi, Jean-Christophe Nougaret

 

HEAR THE VOICES FROM OUR PROJECTS in Honduras and South Africa, discussing the impacts of losing access to essential sexual and reproductive health services, particularly safe abortion care and contraception care.

LET’S TALK COVID-19: watch this live online discussion on protecting women and girls from the worst effect of the pandemic, hosted by MSF USA director Avril Benoit

 

FIND OUT:


WHAT WE NEED TO DO:

  • SPREAD THE WORD: on the importance of SRH services in times of COVID-19, we need to protect the lives and health of women and girls!
  • TAKE ACTION: we need to innovate and develop more community-centered and self-managed care that reaches women and girls where they are.


WHAT CAN THE ASSOCIATION COMMITEES IN THE FIELD DO?

  • Organise/propose an internal sensitisation discussion/campaign in your project/mission.
  • Do it hand in hand with  your MedCo/Project Medical Referent/Midwives and propose the organisation of a discussion focusing on SRH services in times of COVID-19!
  • Use the videos, posters and other materials included in the package; and organise some discussions around the topic.
  • If you need support – reach out to the SRH OCB advisors team (see below), we hope this will be on the agenda of your associative events!

WE ARE HERE TO SUPPORT YOU: if you have questions don’t hesitate to contact the SRH OCB advisor team:

Eva.DEPLECKER@brussels.msf.org
Daphne.LAGROU@brussels.msf.org
Claire.Reading@brussels.msf.org
Severine.CALUWAERTS@brussels.msf.org

 

 

 

 

 

By: Sophie Guillaumie