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COVID-19 & Reproductive Health

Resources, tools, solutions & best practices from the ICFP Community
SRH in the times of COVID-19

Our Community's Response

Rising to the occasion

“The greater reproductive health community is resilient, and we must unite to confront the pandemic by modifying and sharing applicable best practices, creating innovative solutions, and learning as much as possible about the immediate and long-term effects of this virus on our community.”

– Jose “Oying” Rimon II, Director,
Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health

Stories from the community

The sexual and reproductive health community is uniquely positioned to play a significant role in the education, containment, and mitigation of this global pandemic. This page is dedicated to highlighting the innovative work and solutions that are helping push our community forward through these uncertain times.

Have a story or blog to share?

If you have a story or success that you would like to share with the ICFP community, please submit it to us. Include a high-quality photo and a short 300 character or less preview text. Learn more details in the April Monthly Action- Click here.

Community Blogs

Reproductive Health during COVID-19

  • Like elsewhere, women in West Africa have been disproportionate victims of COVID-19 in terms of their rights, health and autonomy. Government and donor action is decisive in health crises by including civil society and taking measures to prevent rather than reinforce women and girls’ vulnerability.

  • By Dawn Macahilo. Originally posted on www.findmymethod.org

    People in the Philippines never fail to provide a comic relief even in times like the coronavirus pandemic. Take for instance the parents of two newborns who named their respective offspring “Covid Bryant” and “Covid Rose”.

  • By Spotlight Initiative. Originally posted on SpotlightInitiative.org. On 14 April, Joyce Johnson, 23, gave birth to a healthy baby girl at Redemption Hospital in Monrovia. She was lucky - the hospital is the only public facility in the area and has just 200 beds to serve a community of 400,000 people. Limited services and a largely rural population mean that it can be difficult for many women in Liberia to reach a hospital or community clinic. Only 61 per cent of births are attended by a healthcare professional and the nation has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with nearly 1

  • With the prospect of delivering an effective COVID-19 vaccine ever changing, public health professionals have a responsibility to ensure uninterrupted access to essential health care to women and their families. At the same time, we must protect clients and the health workers who serve them from infection. In a profession noted for person-to-person contact and compassionate, person-centered care, we have an opportunity—some may say an imperative—to reimagine service delivery.

  • By Fifi Oluwatoyin Ogbondeminu, A360 Nigeria. Originally posted on A360Learninghub.org.  Girls’ sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs don’t pause for pandemics. Yet amidst the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, we’re watching health systems bear the brunt – stretching their ability to respond to the virus itself, and the essential SRH services girls need, now more than ever. In Nigeria, PSI’s flagship adolescent SRH program Adolescents 360 (A360) is adapting, in response. Fusing digital innovation with field-tested outreach, the A360 Nigeria team pivoted quickly to merge COVID-19 awareness with SRH information, delivering creative, urgent and difficult solutions to an ever-evolving situation. We’ve documented the approach and replicable learnings,

  • By Cara Honzak and Cheryl Margoluis. Originally posted on Pathfinder.org Anna farms the small plot next to her house on Uganda’s Jaguzi Island. She relies on what she grows and the fish her husband catches to feed their six children. Every day, she works to keep her vegetables growing to feed her family. When there is extra, she sells her crops at a local market and saves some cash for emergencies. She knows that just one major illness or an unplanned pregnancy could tip the scales. But so far, she considers herself lucky. As Lake Victoria rose to its highest recorded level and swallowed whole villages

  • By EngenderHealth. Originally posted on EngenderHealth.org. “Many women like me come from a poor family. We use the contraceptives at government hospitals because they are free,” said Geeta*, a 25-year-old mother of two from Gujarat, India. Not long after the birth of her first child, Geeta chose to have an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) inserted for free at a nearby government hospital so she could determine the timing of her second pregnancy. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused challenges for women like Geeta. On March 24, India implemented a nationwide lockdown considered one of the strictest in the world, which made it

  • By Women Deliver. Originally posted on WomenDeliver.org. As the world grapples with unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, young people are demonstrating their continued leadership in their communities and countries. According to a new UN plan to address COVID-19, young people are some of the most affected by the pandemic’s socio-economic impacts. Nevertheless, youth are also among the most active in global responses: Not only are they on the frontlines as health workers, but they are also advancing health and safety in their roles as researchers, activists, innovators, and communicators. As such, decision-makers must commit to ensuring youth voices are part

  • By Sara Stratton with Palladium. Originally posted on newsecuritybeat.org With the arrival of COVID-19, countries are experiencing disruptions of health services of all kinds— health workers have been redeployed, supplies already in short stock are even more difficult to find, scarce financial resources for health are being reallocated, and routine health services are less, if at all, available. COVID-19 is causing facilities to lockdown in some settings, in part because many providers lack sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely provide services. At the same time, many clients—particularly those seeking family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) services—cannot access services at all. This is due to

  • By Equipop. Originally published on equipop.org. From France to Francophone West Africa, a gender equal response to the COVID-19 pandemic will promote health as a human right and consider the health and rights of girls and women as a crucial component of every political decision and action. What does the COVID-19 crisis tell us about our health systems, and more globally, our societies? The COVID-19 crisis harshly highlights the gaps in our health systems throughout the world, as well as the structural inequalities in our societies. More concretely, it tells us two things: Our health systems are profoundly unequal and they are a mirror of our patriarchal societies.   It is no surprise that women are currently on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis everywhere. Women are indeed over-represented in the care sector,

  • By EngenderHealth. Originally published on EngenderHealth.org. EngenderHealth published Guidance for Ensuring Quality Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Service Provision during the COVID-19 Pandemic, offering different sets of recommendations specifically designed for health facilities and facility managers and for providers, to ensure they can “continue to lead SRHR programming around the world amid the pandemic.” The guidance also provides recommendations tailored for clients. EngenderHealth clinical and program teams will use this guidance in working with partners to ensure SRH services continue to meet the needs of the community even as the pandemic forces shifts in how service providers interact with clients. Some of the

  • By JAMIE VERNAELDE, Senior Research and Policy Analyst, PAI. Originally posted on PAI.org.  In “normal times,” civil society actors already have the challenging job of being the frontline advocates for the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of their communities, including the most at-risk and hard-to-reach populations. But nothing about this time is normal. As governments around the world launch unprecedented responses to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), civil society organizations (CSOs) are rapidly adapting their priorities and activities in a highly volatile environment. They are also balancing the need to be part of national pandemic responses and simultaneously monitoring and

  • By Ellie Brown , Fernanda Pinheiro Sequeira , Pippa Page - Originally published on itad.com. The need to rapidly learn from previous experience and evidence on sexual and reproductive health in epidemics is now an urgent task. Members of our health team draw on their expertise in global health security and sexual and reproductive health to share their reflections. The world is in the midst of a global pandemic for which it was clearly ill-prepared. As we scramble to respond to COVID-19, those who deliver contraception services have warned of the dire consequences for women and girls. MSI has warned that up to 9.5 million women and

  • Originally published on knowledgesuccess.org. The need for fundamental transformation in our health systems has never been more apparent. Already the world faces a shortage of 13 million health workers. Now, in the context of COVID-19, our dependencies on a stretched health workforce are brought to the fore, demanding creative, urgent, and difficult solutions. People are asked to steer clear of COVID-19 hotspots such as hospitals and clinics, to use telemedicine or hotlines where they exist, to self-diagnose using symptom guidelines, and to self-medicate. Preventative and curative care jostle together, both equally important, both challenged to be delivered in tandem. World over, millions

  • By: Rebecca Herman, CPM, MPH & Jodi Diprofio, MA. Originally published by Pathfinder International Evidence from the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic indicates that there will be unequal and disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls. Past disease outbreaks, including the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak, demonstrated the myriad ways disease epidemics exacerbate gender inequities and gender-based violence, as well as provide clues on steps that can be taken to mitigate them. Women comprise the majority of the frontline health workforce. Women health workers involved in pandemic response and mitigation have unique sexual and reproductive health needs—for example,  they

  • By IPPF. Originally posted on IPPFEN.org No matter where we live, what we look like, or what income we might have, this pandemic affects us all. But we have to recognize that people are impacted in different ways. Social norms and economic realities put a heavy caregiving burden on women, with greater pressure to balance working from home with childcare and domestic work, and some employers reportedly being quicker to fire women than men. Women tend to have the most precarious jobs and the less well-paid ones, putting them at both immediate and longer-term risk of income loss and economic hardship. Women also

  • By Jay Gribble and Beth Rottach of Palladium. Originally posted by Science Speaks. Photo: © David Olson for KJK/Palladium We are in the middle of a pandemic. Our attention has turned to testing for the presence of COVID-19 and following guidance about who should go to the doctor and the hospital. We’re asking: Will masks protect us? Why aren’t there test kits? and other key questions that characterize the pandemic in the United States. But on a global basis, a few key messages continue to ring clearly in the ears of all people—wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with a lot of soap,

  • By Jose “Oying” Rimon II. Originally published by The Gates Institute  - read here  At this moment, the global health community is working tirelessly on efforts to turn the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic.  First and foremost, we would like to thank all of you who are in this fight – especially our frontline health workers for their selfless and tireless work taking care of patients. As the days of facing the COVID-19 pandemic turn into weeks and months, we want to assure you of the essential work being done to maintain critical Gates Institute operations worldwide. We are appreciative of your