IAWG members are addressing sexual and reproductive rights during COVID-19 humanitarian response. Read More>>

COVID-19 Latebreaker: Global adaptations to ensure SRHR during pandemic

  • IAWG COVID Taskforce

COVID-19 threatens women and girls in profound ways beyond the virus, and refugees and people affected by humanitarian crises are particularly vulnerable. Humanitarian actors and local organizations have been adapting in real-time and finding solutions to provide sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care. Presenters from around the world will describe their experiences adapting to meet the needs of women and girls and share data on SRH use during the pandemic. Participants will have an opportunity to exchange with the panelists after presentations of their work.

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Marilyne Nyaboga, from International Planned Parenthood, will join a co-presenter from an IPPF Member Association, to describe how they are meeting the essential SRH needs of communities affected by a double crisis of COVID-19 and acute or protracted humanitarian emergencies. Their talk will include examples from responses to cyclones in Fiji and Vanuatu, the recent explosion in Beirut, and the ongoing displacement of people in Uganda and Sudan.

Manisha Kumar from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will talk about the implications of COVID-19 on their efforts to roll out medication abortion using “no test” and “no-touch” approaches. She will describe data on the safety and effectiveness of self-management of abortion care in 10 MSF countries and reflect on the pandemic helping providers and practitioners to expand services outside of health facilities and invest in self-management models of care.

Cyprien Masaka from IRC in the Democratic Republic of Congo will zero in on North Kivu where they have engaged pharmacies and clients to expand access to self-managed abortion care. Uptake data suggests that women and girls feel more comfortable accessing services at pharmacy versus health facilities especially during COVID-19 – and doing so not only expands access and choice but also privacy which is a value among adolescents.

Presenters from CARE will share case studies from Cox’s Bazar and West Nile Uganda that describe approaches to ensure SRH continuity in the face of COVID-19 barriers. Roy Asiku (CARE Uganda) will focus on using local accountability approaches to keep SRH at the forefront for refugees and displaced people. Nazmul Hassan (CARE Bangladesh) will share data about SRH service use among women and adolescents in a densely populated refugee setting. CARE’s global SRH advisor Anushka Kalyanpur will summarize trends and implications for accountability and adolescent SRH in COVID-19 and beyond.