Analysis: COVID-19 Caused a Global Setback in Reproductive and Sexual Health Rights, Especially for Women
The exceptional measures governments and health authorities used during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as lockdowns, quarantine or reorganizing health services, directly affected the full realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights. This was particularly the case for women and girls. These impacts are felt at many levels and require a major rethinking of international health development in order to make this issue a global priority.
Access to birth control
Access to birth control is one of the sexual and reproductive health issues that has been most impacted by the pandemic. According to the World Health Organization, family planning and birth control have been severely disrupted during the pandemic, with seven out of 10 countries affected.
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in 114 low/middle-income countries, more than 47 million women are unable to access contraceptives. With each three-month extension of the measures, up to two million more women would be unable to have access to modern birth control methods.
Confinement measures also disrupted contraceptive supply chains and the ability to access health facilities. Because of the focus on essential supplies to combat COVID-19, sexual and reproductive health-related products became inaccessible or out of stock, directly impeding sexual and reproductive health and rights for millions of women and girls.
Photo courtesy of UN Women Asia and the Pacific.