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19 Aug 2020

Resilience, Adaptation and Action: Protecting access to safe abortion care under COVID-19


Post-abortion contraception, WHO guidelines, Task sharing, Pharmacy provision, New technologies, Supply chain, Self-administration, Surgical Abortion, Medical Abortion (MA), Briefing, Young people, Sustainability, Public sector

As COVID-19 continues to devastate lives and communities across the world, MSI shares new data on the impact of access to contraceptive, safe abortion and post-abortion care services through the pandemic, alongside insights and learnings from frontline providers.

Across the 37 countries where MSI works, we have seen the impact on reproductive healthcare access and rights. With national lockdowns restricting movement, lack of information about what services are available, supply chain disruptions and overwhelmed health systems diverting resources to the COVID-19 response, access to safe abortion and post-abortion care has been restricted and barriers have increased.

Despite the challenges facing both providers and women throughout the crisis, the story is also one of resilience and adaptation. MSI's programmes have rapidly adapted to ensure access can be maintained. Through innovations such as telemedicine and a new appointment booking system allowing women to social distance at centres, MSI has been able to protect access to safe abortion in a number of programmes.

But while MSI's efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 has allowed us to protect services across several settings, programmes have still seen a considerable reduction in the number of women who have been able to reach safe abortion and post-abortion care services.

Between January and June, MSI's programmes served 1.9 million fewer clients than originally forecast for the same period with sexual and reproductive healthcare services. Based on these declines and national health and demographic data, MSI estimate that this loss of services will result in:

  • 1.5 million additional unsafe abortions
  • 900,000 additional unintended pregnancies
  • 3,100 additional maternal deaths.

Download MSI's report to read more about how safe abortion and post-abortion care services have adapted during the pandemic - Resilience, Adaptation and Action: MSI's Response to COVID-19 

MSI launched the report at a virtual briefing on 19th August, sharing new global data on the quantitative impact of the pandemic on safe abortion and contraception access from MSI's programmes, frontline stories of adaptation and resilience, and insights from a new Ipsos Mori survey of how women’s access has been affected by life under lockdown in the UK, South Africa and India.

You can watch the briefing back and download the slide deck:

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Resilience, Adaptation and Action: MSI's Response to COVID-19


Resilience, Adaptation and Action: MSI's Virtual Briefing


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