Africa: Contraceptive Cost of Covid – a Million Unplanned Pregnancies


Bogota — Millions of women lost out on family planning services due to pandemic, leading to 1.4 million unplanned pregnancies, new U.N. data shows

Nearly 12 million women in poorer countries lost access to contraception in the pandemic, leading to 1.4 million unplanned pregnancies, the United Nations said on Thursday.

Estimates by the U.N. sexual and reproductive health agency, UNFPA, showed women lost access to contraception as the pandemic drew resources away from family planning or hit supply chains.

Women also lost out due to coronavirus travel restrictions, clinic closures and stay-at-home orders, the UNFPA said.

“We must ensure that women and girls have uninterrupted access to life-saving contraceptives and maternal health medicines,” UNFPA’s head, Natalia Kanem, said in a statement.

“The devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on the lives of millions of women and girls in the past year underscores just how vital it is to ensure the continuity of reproductive health services.”

The U.N. data highlighted the many ways in which women have suffered disproportionately in the pandemic, be it through greater job losses, increased domestic duties or rising incidents of domestic and sexual violence.

In 115 low- and middle-income countries, women faced an average disruption in their family planning services of 3.6 months over the past year, UNFPA data showed.

The U.N. said this showed how “many health systems were resilient enough to eventually adapt” and return to business sooner than it had expected.