Protecting women during the pandemic

The corona crisis hits marginalised communities particularly hard, deepening inequalities and threatening to set us back in our efforts to leave no one behind. Women are disproportionately exposed to the coronavirus due to a number of reasons. marginalised communities particularly hard, deepening inequalities and threatening to set us back in our efforts to leave no one behind.

Women are disproportionately exposed to the coronavirus due to a number of reasons.

On World Population Day 2020 we draw attention to the challenges that the corona crisis presents to women.

Women are especially vulnerable

Women account for the largest share of front-line health workers, that is a well establishes fact. Apart from being professional health workers, women traditionally also take care of sick children husbands and the elderly, as informal health workers. In this way, women are especially vulnerable and in danger of contracting COVID-19.

But this is only one aspect of the challenges that women deal with because women and their health are impacted in other ways by the pandemic. As countries are on lockdown and health systems struggle to cope, sexual and reproductive health services are suffering. Supply chains around the world are being disrupted, which means that the availability of contraceptives is diminished. The risk for unintended pregnancy is heightened.

Needless to say, when lock-down situations drag on week after week, gender-based violence is on the rise. In this way, the COVID-19 crisis has taken a staggering toll on people, communities and economies everywhere – and women are bearing the brunt of it.

The COVID-19 pandemic is also derailing the fight against HIV & AIDS by disrupting access to life-saving antiretroviral treatment, prevention & testing programmes.

Accessing already existing responses to epidemics

In this time of crisis, where the dissemination of accurate is of essence, already organisational structures and infrastructure are very valuable tools. It is good to know that our projects partners in the south, members of the Humana People to People movement, are doing a great job.

Members of Humana People to People have built significant local capacity in responding to major epidemics over the years in Africa, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, cholera and ebola.

For example, community mobilization for prevention has been an approach used to equip people and communities to acquire better knowledge, so they take control against contracting HIV virus for more than 20 years.

Many members of Humana People to People are actively using the approach in promoting compliance with physical distancing, washing hands with soap under running water, informing people to stay at home, adhering to government lockdown guidelines in general and screening for fever by checking temperature levels.

Being aware of the specific circumstances that render women and girls especially vulnerable is something that HPP staff are aware of and act upon.

For example, ADPP Moçambique’s VIVA+ programme seeks to promote HIV prevention for girls from various age groups, including girls, teenagers and young women through a combination of friendly health services, promoting behavioural changes and encouraging the young women in participation in clubs as well as vocational training.

Did you know?

Some 47 million women in 114 low- and middle-income countries are projected to be unable to use modern contraceptives if the average lockdown, or COVID-19-related disruption, continues for 6 months with major disruptions to services.

For every 3 months the lockdown continues, assuming high levels of disruption, up to 2 million additional women may be unable to use modern contraceptives.

If the lockdown continues for 6 months and there are major service disruptions due to COVID-19, an additional 7 million unintended pregnancies are expected to occur.

The number of unintended pregnancies will increase as the lockdown continues and services disruptions are extended.

 

Source: United Nations Population Fund

A structured gap year can be just what you need.

It is clear that utilising already existing organisational structures is key when it comes to informing and mobilising families and communities about stopping the spread of the virus.

 

 

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