The year 2020 came with a number of challenges on a scale we haven’t witnessed in a very long time. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the earth and had an impact on our everyday lives. This, sadly unsurprisingly, has had a detrimental effect on women as seen by women disproportionately affected and reproductive healthcare access and rights restricted.
But challenging times can also be a catalyst for innovation, inspiring actions, resilience, and renewed commitments to women’s reproductive choice. Looking back at this past year, although the pandemic posed a great threat, the innovation and progress that came with it can’t be understated.
The resilience of the team at Marie Stopes South Africa was able to see through a rapid adaptation of major MSI Reproductive Choices programmes which ensured sexual and reproductive health services remained accessible to women who need them. Through these actions, we were able to protect the majority of services in 2020.
Adapting to meet women’s needs
Last April, as the numbers of COVID-19 infections spiralled globally, MSI estimated an 80% reduction in service delivery, with up to 9.5 million women and girls worldwide losing access to reproductive health services. However, by the end of 2020, teams from MSSA and 35 other member states had served 12.8 million people – 35,000 every day – with high-quality sexual and reproductive health services.
The healthcare sector as a whole has learnt to innovate, teaching important lessons that will shape our services even after the pandemic has come to pass. In this period, MSSA introduced a telemedicine service to deliver home based reproductive healthcare. This not only cut down on travel time to seek out reproductive healthcare, but also aided in the risk reduction of exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
New partnerships have been fostered with governments to embed contraceptive services in national health programmes, COVID-19 has acted as a catalyst for change within MSI and across the healthcare sector. Read more about the lessons we learnt providing services through a global pandemic.
Below is an excerpt from the MSI Reproductive Choices Global Impact for 2020.
MSI Global Impact 2020
Around the world, 32.6 million people are using a method of contraception provided by MSI Reproductive Choices, and across the countries where we work, one in five women who