An estimated 12 million women experienced disruptions to their family planning services, which ultimately led to around 1.4 million unintended pregnancies, one year since Covid 19 pandemic struck the planet, according to a new estimate from the UN Population Fund.
The new data from UN’s reproductive health agency and Avenir Health shows how severely the pandemic affected women’s control over their own reproductive health and undermined family planning.
Contraceptives out of stock
Travel restrictions, overwhelmed health facilities and interrupted supply chains hit family planning in 115 lower and middle income countries in 2020. In addition, the results, for many women, have been life changing, the UN agency said. It said that unintended pregnancies put great strain on families that are already struggling under pandemic-related financial burdens. It is not just economic but related to increased maternal morbidity, mortality and unsafe abortions.
The Data pointed out that family planning services were largely disrupted in April and May in 2020 for an average of 3.6 months.
When Covid-19 pandemic started, concerns were raised about the impact of the pandemic on women’s ability to continue using contraception. Social distancing, lockdown strategies and mobility restrictions, as well as fear of travelling to health facilities raised the serious concern. Disrupted global manufacturing, supply chains and overwhelmed health facilities also form a threat to family planning.
However, UNFPA said that quick action helped several health systems to maintain or restore essential health services, including contraceptives. The Population Fund said that they were able to procure and deliver contraceptives and other reproductive health supplies amid rising costs and supply chain constraints. The UNFPA also noted that a ride-hailing app helped in delivering contraceptives.