Fear and anxiety, as in many other countries has gripped the nations of the world! The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the lives of people across the globe, as well as health and economics. This also has a negative impact on access to sexual and reproductive health as there is shift in focus both on human and financial recourses. This is also fuelled by the lockdowns that have been witnessed in many countries of the world.
Despite this pandemic, the need for sexual and reproductive health information and service is still of paramount importance. For most young people sexual these services are still essential especially contraceptives. Most health systems have shifted mote to COVID-19 responses but is , it is critical to continue with SRHR response. Non-governmental organisations and some service providers have either closed or are working from home and there is need to come up with strategies to make sure that critical services continue to be offered in the face of this crisis.
In this time , there is need to ensure that direction of programming changes and there has to be innovative programmes to reach out to community either through community health centres, pharmacies or use of technological advances for information and door to door delivery of commodities such as contraceptives and sanitary wear!
While many countries are in lockdown, there is need to keep in mind that sexual activity is on the rise and in areas where communities have been ordered to stay at home, the masses should have options and should be allowed to travel to seek sexual and reproductive health services.
Health facilities and youth friendly service providers and community health workers should be available in this time of crisis. As the workforce shifts to testing for and treating people with COVID-19, or as health workers themselves fall victim to the virus, health systems must plan to ensure continuity of care, whether through partnering with non-traditional providers or using technology where possible.
With the lockdown witnessing closure of boarders, it is imperative for Government and responsible ministries should make sure that commodities are stocked and the supply chain continues. It s also critical to learn from key stakeholders and agencies that have provided SRHR information and services in humanitarian settings for lessons.
These agencies should be able to create platforms to share resources and best practices so that countries will make informed decisions to ensure people have access to SSRHR information and services.
If not, otherwise we are going to see a rise in unsafe abortions, unwanted pregnancies, teenage pregnancies, a rise in the prevalence of HIV , STIs and child marriages.