June 22, 2024

Women lost access to contraception during the pandemic with unexpected pregnancies predicted

Earlier this month the World Health Organisation reported that two-thirds of 103 countries reported that their reproductive health services were disrupted between May and July.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has said the world may see 7 million unintended pregnancies as a result.

MSI’s study also predicted there will also be 1. 5million unsafe abortions and more than 3,000 maternal deaths. Discussing the data, Dr Clare Wenham, an expert in global health policy at the London School of Economics, told the Telegraph: “We saw it with the Ebola outbreak, we saw it with the Zika outbreak.

“And so governments could have done something to prevent this situation had they stopped to think about reproductive health issues. ”

While the life-changing consequences of the pandemic are still being studied, new data has revealed that we may see a rise in unexpected pregnancies after hundreds of thousands of women lost access to contraception and abortion services this year.

Marie Stopes International said that 1. 9million fewer women used their services across the world between January and June compared to last year and they’ve predicted that there will be 900,000 unintended pregnancies as a result of the disruption to health services.

During lockdown many health services had to prioritise Covid-19 care which contributed to a reduction in access to reproductive healthcare and shortages of contraception.
In the US some states including Texas, Utah, Idaho and Alabama classified abortion as a non-essential medical service which meant many women were unable to access this during the pandemic.

It’s also believed that fears about catching the virus from healthcare settings may have added to the drop in women accessing treatment.

At the beginning of the outbreak, the UN warned of a condom shortage after coronavirus lockdowns forced major producers to close their factories.

Many manufacturers of contraceptives in Asia had to stop production or reduce capacity. MSI said that India was one of the worst hit countries in women accessing their services – with 1. 3million fewer women wanting treatment than that of the previous year. The country is expected to see an extra one million unsafe abortions, 650,000 unintended pregnancies and 2,600 maternal deaths alone.

Dr Rashmi Ardey, director of clinical services at MSI’s India, said: “Women are bearing the brunt of this global calamity. ”

Dr Wenham said: “Humanitarian crises often lead to an increase in fertility rates often among displaced migrants or refugees affected by war,” but added that it’s currently too early to identify an increase in pregnancies since the virus swept countries at different times.

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