Nepal – Putting the brakes on COVID-19: Safeguarding the health and rights of women and girls

Published: July 11, 2020

KATHMANDU: The COVID-19 pandemic has sickened 16,649 people and left 35 dead in Nepal as of July 10. But the full toll of this catastrophe has been incalculably greater. The health system has been overwhelmed and the economy has been greatly impacted. Women and girls have been disproportionately affected, with sexual and reproductive health services being curtailed and gender-based violence on the rise.

Today, 11 July, is World Population Day, a moment to raise awareness of the sexual and reproductive health needs of people. This year, UNFPA is calling attention to the needs and vulnerabilities of women and girls amid the pandemic, and the efforts needed to secure their health and human rights.

Continued: https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/putting-the-brakes-on-covid-19-safeguarding-the-health-and-rights-of-women-and-girls/


House Democrats move to permanently restore funding for abortion access abroad

By Laura Kelly
07/06/20

House Democrats are working to repeal restrictions imposed by the Trump administration that block U.S. foreign aid from helping fund programs that provide women access to an abortion as part of a $66 billion spending bill.

The proposal, part of the House Appropriations Committee's annual State and Foreign Operations bill, would permanently repeal the Trump administration’s “Global Gag Rule,” also known as the Mexico City Policy, that prevents any U.S. funding from going to any international organization that acknowledges abortion as a possible treatment.

Continued: https://thehill.com/policy/international/506028-house-democrats-move-to-permanently-restore-funding-for-abortion-access


Bangladesh – Increased budget must come with policy changes, utilisation

Experts hail allocation in family planning, but wary of planning

July 06, 2020
Nilima Jahan

The budget allocation in health and family welfare has seen a steady increase in the past few years. This year, the amount increased by 13.66 percent, standing at Tk 29,247 crore.

Although the increased allocation appears to be a step in the right direction, family planning experts believe that the higher budgets are not being utilised in a planned manner.

Continued: https://www.thedailystar.net/city/news/increased-budget-must-come-policy-changes-utilisation-1925709


Maldives records 12 unintended pregnancies per day amidst COVID-19

Shahudha Mohamed
05 July 2020

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) revealed on Sunday that every day, 12 women unintentionally get pregnant, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), even before the pandemic, only 15 percent of married couples in Maldives used some form of modern contraception – one of the lowest contraceptive prevalence rates anywhere.

Continued: https://edition.mv/news/17692


Abortion still ‘used as contraceptive’ in Vietnam

Abortion still 'used as contraceptive' in Vietnam
Experts warn that in Vietnam, the lack of sex education means young people don't know enough about safe sex and some are relying on abortion as a form of birth control.

8 Jun 2020

No one had ever talked to her about sex: not her parents, not her teachers -- and her friends knew as little as she did.

"I was terrified when I found out I was pregnant...I think if we had been told about safe sex, we would not have fallen into this trap," the 20-year-old explains.

Continued: https://www.bangkokpost.com/world/1931284/abortion-still-used-as-contraceptive-in-vietnam


The Sexual-Health Supply Chain Is Broken

The Sexual-Health Supply Chain Is Broken
Condoms, birth control, and other items are harder to get in the developing world because of the pandemic. That is putting lives at risk.

Anna Louie Sussman
June 8, 2020

It took Dimos Sakellaridis about six years to build Kiss condoms into one of Nigeria’s top brands, with approximately 91 million sold in 2019. The prophylactics are available in shops, markets, and kiosks across the country, and a combination of irreverent advertising, a growing population of young people, and a greater understanding of reproductive health within Nigeria has meant his sales have steadily risen.

But if he can’t get a shipment of 12 million condoms (and 4 million packs of birth-control pills) out of the Lagos port soon, those stocks will run out. And unfortunately for Sakellaridis, it makes no difference to the customs authorities, who are working their way through a backlog of containers, that ordinary Nigerians depend on Sakellaridis’s stranded cargo to prevent unwanted pregnancies and stop the spread of sexually transmitted infections. All he can do is wait—and he is not alone.

Continued: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2020/06/coronavirus-pandemic-sex-health-condoms-reproductive-health/612298/


Family Planning And Safe Abortion Services Made ‘Essential’ In India During Lockdown

Family Planning And Safe Abortion Services Made ‘Essential’ In India During Lockdown

By Abhinav Pandey
24th May, 2020

I have been listening to various news debates, participating in webinars, zoom calls, online meetings and conference calls since the nation has been under lockdown amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. There has been a wide range of ideas and opinions from people across disciplines. The point I want to raise here is that women are facing a lot of issues during this lockdown that need to be addressed as soon as possible in order to curb the pressure on them.

After attending so many calls and participating in several online conferences, I came to know that a huge population of women are facing an issue of unplanned pregnancies and all sorts of violence within their households. According to UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), 47 million women might lose access to contraception if the lockdown carries on for six months, and about 24.55 million couples might lose access to contraception along with 9 lakh abortions, thereby increasing the chances of pregnancy-related deaths.

Continued: https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2020/05/family-planning-and-safe-abortion-services-are-made-essential-during-lockdown/


Five Statements of Support for WHO, with a Preface

Five Statements of Support for WHO, with a Preface
UNFP
22 May 2020
Preface, by Marge Berer

Today’s newsletter includes five statements – by the Campaign, an international group of CSOs, and IAWG, IPPF and Ipas – all in response to demands by the US government on the UN and the World Health Organization to omit any language or policy related to abortion and sexual and reproductive health from the Covid-19 response. This issue was not at all the focus of the World Health Assembly (WHA) on 18-19 May, however, as Trump hoped them to be. Instead, the other issues raised in his three letters to the heads of WHO and the UN – got all the attention, as well as a few more.

Continued: https://mailchi.mp/safeabortionwomensright/newsletter-22-may-2020?e=372dd34034


How coronavirus is changing access to abortion

How coronavirus is changing access to abortion
Health care practitioners are struggling to maintain access to contraception and abortions during the pandemic.

By MIRIAM WEBBER
05/21/2020

As the coronavirus steamrolls the global order, reproductive health care practitioners and advocates are struggling to maintain access to contraception and abortions.

Lockdowns and disrupted supply chains have prompted a flurry of action in the sector as governments, practitioners and advocates react to a crisis that has highlighted the often tenuous access to sexual health care products and services.

Continued: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/21/how-coronavirus-is-changing-access-to-abortion-273193


Trump assault on women’s choice continues despite pandemic

Trump assault on women's choice continues despite pandemic

By Bridget Kelly, opinion contributor
05/16/20

The Trump administration and its political allies may be letting up on COVID-19 restrictions, but it’s still full speed ahead when it comes to their attacks on sexual and reproductive health and rights. They’re using every means at their disposal — legislative, regulatory, budgetary — to curb access to reproductive health services.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments that could make it easier under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for employers with moral or religious objections to opt out of providing free birth control coverage in their insurance plans.

Continued: https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/498139-trump-assault-on-womens-choice-continues-despite-pandemic