It Shouldn’t Take a Pandemic to Improve Access to Reproductive Health Care

Aug 11, 2021

Exactly one year after the World Health Organization (WHO) made its pandemic declaration, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimated that 12 million women experienced disruptions to family planning services during the pandemic, resulting in 1.4 million unintended pregnancies. Despite this grim assessment, we have reason for optimism. Many health care systems adapted to changing conditions much faster than originally anticipated, and in some countries, people altered their approach to obtaining care when circumstances required it.

For instance, in Kampala, Uganda, the popular ride-hailing motorcycle app SafeBoda was enlisted to deliver contraceptives, HIV tests and pregnancy tests. In India, there was an immediate push to communicate directly with family planning patients through social media and phone calls. In East Africa, family planning was deemed an essential service alongside the pandemic response, and local health officials distributed oral contraceptives, emergency contraception and condoms, often utilizing local pharmacies as a central distribution point. The combination of declaring family planning an essential service and utilizing existing essential business infrastructure proved to be a key factor to steady rates of contraceptive use and access.

Read the full commentary at BaltimoreSun.com.

Related Content

 

Charting a Visionary Course: Seeking WHGI’s Next Director

Charting a Visionary Course: Seeking WHGI’s Next Director

Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Mahmoud Fathalla: A Women’s Health Luminary and Longtime Friend of the Institute

Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Mahmoud Fathalla: A Women’s Health Luminary and Longtime Friend of the Institute

Institute Director Jose ‘Oying’ Rimon Pays Tribute to Dr. Clea Finkle

Institute Director Jose ‘Oying’ Rimon Pays Tribute to Dr. Clea Finkle

Kwame Nkrumah University in Ghana Receives Funding to Facilitate Strategic Leadership Training for Health Systems Transformation

Kwame Nkrumah University in Ghana Receives Funding to Facilitate Strategic Leadership Training for Health Systems Transformation

Gates Institute Director Jose ‘Oying’ Rimon to Retire after Distinguished Career Championing Global Health Causes Such as Family Planning and Reproductive Health

Gates Institute Director Jose ‘Oying’ Rimon to Retire after Distinguished Career Championing Global Health Causes Such as Family Planning and Reproductive Health

William H. Gates Sr. Institute for Population and Reproductive Health Unveils Refreshed Strategy through 2030

William H. Gates Sr. Institute for Population and Reproductive Health Unveils Refreshed Strategy through 2030

Bloomberg School Honors William H. Gates Sr. with New Name for Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health 

Bloomberg School Honors William H. Gates Sr. with New Name for Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health 

Innovate, Inspire, Impact. The Legacy Continues.

Innovate, Inspire, Impact. The Legacy Continues.

World Contraception Day 2023 Recap from Gates Institute

World Contraception Day 2023 Recap from Gates Institute

Using Family Planning To Achieve Universal Health Coverage

Using Family Planning To Achieve Universal Health Coverage