Covid-19 has taken an enormous toll on women and girls around the world as a direct consequence of national lockdowns and the sidelining of sexual and reproductive health services.
Health systems are struggling to respond to the pandemic.
As the crisis rages on, the number of women unable to access family planning, facing unintended pregnancies, gender-based violence and other harmful practices could skyrocket in the months ahead.
A recent study commissioned by UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, highlighted that if mobility restrictions continue for at least six months with major disruptions to health services, 47 million women in low- and middle-income countries may be deprived of modern contraceptives, resulting in seven million unintended pregnancies. The disruption of UNFPA’s programs on the ground could result in two million cases of female genital mutilation and 13 million child marriages that could have been averted by 2030.
Natalia Kanem, Naomi Kitahara