The rapid spread of COVID19 and the sudden nationwide lockdown limiting the movement of 1.3 billion people disrupted the supply chain of essential hygiene products like sanitary pads, contraceptive pills etc and the access to sexual and reproductive healthcare facilities for many women and girls. In low and middle-income countries like India, the increasing number of cases have burdened the healthcare infrastructure. And the massive shift of health resources from regular healthcare services to combating the pandemic has placed many women and young girls at risk of unwanted pregnancies and no access to abortions.
Recently a report “The Impact of COVID-19 on women’s lives and reproductive health” released by Marie Stopes International asking an online sample of 1000 women aged 16-50 per country in the UK, South Africa and India about their experiences and awareness of sexual and reproductive healthcare before and during the COVID-19 pandemic stated that 30% of respondents in India who were seeking an abortion reported that the clinic in their areas was closed, 30% said that the wait time for an appointment was 1–2 weeks while 9% said that the wait-time was more than 5 weeks.
To know more about the report and the impact on access to sexual and reproductive healthcare facilities during the pandemic, our Research and Communications Officer, Kunika Balhotra reached out to Sanghamitra Singh, a health scientist, who works with Population Foundation of India’s research and evaluation team and Sana Contractor, a Public Health Researcher who has been volunteering with a group called the Medical Support Group to help people especially with non-COVID complaints to access care during the lockdown.