Unfpa, a United Nations agency specialized in sexual and reproductive health estimated that more than 47 million women could lose access to contraceptives due to quarantine and that this will result in some 7 million unplanned pregnancies in the coming months at the national level. world.
According to the report, the number of women who find their access to forms of family planning impossible and who face unplanned pregnancies, gender-based violence and other harmful practices “could skyrocket in millions of cases in the coming months” , due to the context of a pandemic.
The data points to 47 million women in 114 low- and middle-income countries if the confinement lasts 6 months and the health services experience major interruptions.
For every 3 months that confinement is maintained, there will be up to 2 million more women who cannot use modern contraceptives, “the report said.
In Argentina, the legal termination of pregnancy (ILE) is a sensitive emergency benefit, while it must be guaranteed, and they are being prioritized, “said Valeria Isla, national director of Sexual and Reproductive Health.
For Natalia Kanem, executive director of Unfpa, “these new data show the catastrophic effect that Covid-19 could soon have on women and girls around the world. The pandemic exacerbates inequalities, and the women and girls who now run the risk of losing their ability to plan their families and protect their bodies and their health add up to millions, “he analyzed.
And she stressed that “women’s reproductive health and rights must be safeguarded at all costs. Services must continue to be provided, supplies must be delivered, and vulnerable people must be protected and supported.”
Meanwhile, Mariana Isasi, Liaison Officer of Unfpa Argentina analyzed that “on the one hand, not all the provinces are guaranteeing the continuity of sexual and reproductive health services, and on the other hand, there are women who prefer not to go looking for contraceptives so as not to expose yourself to contracting the Covid-19 “.
Likewise, “the increase in poverty due to the decrease in economic activity will also have consequences on sexual and reproductive health, given that only 32% of women in Argentina access contraceptives through the public health system,” he added.
“From Unfpa we are pointing out, like the National State, that sexual and reproductive health services are essential. Restricting them can have a strong impact on the lives of each of these women and girls, their community and the country, and We are supporting the Directorate for Sexual and Reproductive Health so that it can guarantee this fundamental right to the health of women and girls, “said the official.
He considered that Argentina “has an advantage over other countries because since 2009 it has a Sexual and Reproductive Health Program created by law and a free provision of a wide basket of contraceptive methods, and it has the Plan of Prevention of Unintentional Pregnancy , a public policy that focuses on the 12 provinces with the highest rates of unintended pregnancy in adolescence “.
Isla for his part confirmed that “the Directorate issued recommendations in this regard and the provinces of Salta, Buenos Aires, Jujuy, Chubut, Entre Ríos, City of Buenos Aires and Santa Fe have ruled on the need to maintain the provision of contraception services and legal termination of pregnancy during the emergency due to the Covid-19 outbreak. “
And he stressed that “these provincial directives recommend adapting the procedures for access to contraceptive methods and ILE to guarantee permanent provision, given their quality as urgent practices so that they can be resolved in the first consultation and avoid postponing care.”
The Unfpa study found that health systems “are overwhelmed, health facilities are closed or the services they offer to women and girls are limited; many of them also choose to skip major medical checkups for fear of contracting the virus.”
Meanwhile, disruptions in global supply chains “can also lead to a significant shortage of contraceptives.”
Unfpa’s research was carried out in collaboration with the organization Avenir Health, Johns Hopkins University (United States) and the University of Victoria (Australia).