AGENCIES, Washington: Ongoing lockdowns may have restricted movement of people and forced them to stay home for the major part, but there’s a flip side to staying at home.
Disruptions to health services during the COVID-19 pandemic could leave 47 million women in low and middle-income countries unable to use modern contraceptives, leading to seven million unintended pregnancies in the coming months, according to data released by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and partners.
The agencies estimate that the number of women unable to access family planning or facing unintended pregnancies, gender-based violence and other harmful practices, could “skyrocket” by millions due to the crisis.
“This new data shows the catastrophic impact that COVID-19 could soon have on women and girls globally,” UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem said on Tuesday. “The pandemic is deepening inequalities, and millions more women and girls now risk losing the ability to plan their families and protect their bodies and their health,” Kanem said.
As a clear view of the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic is only beginning to take shape, experts estimate that the human cost could be extraordinary. The economic and physical disruptions caused by the disease could have vast consequences for the rights and health of women and girls, the new analysis by the UNFPA and partners noted.
Globally, around 450 million women across 114 low and middle-income countries use contraceptives, the study reported.