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World Contraception Day, 2020: Access to contraception services is a fundamental human right to respect and to protect in times of pandemic.

World Contraception Day, 2020: Access to contraception services is a fundamental human right to respect and to protect in times of pandemic.

Friday 23rd October 2020

By Mina Rakotoarindrasata, Genre en Action

We celebrate the World Contraception Day on September 26th. It is an opportunity to remind that family planning services are one of the components of essential health services. Access to those services is a fundamental human right that must be respected and maintained, especially during COVID-19 period.

 

Contraception is everyone’s business: girls, boys, women and men

Each year, the World Contraception Day enables us to inform and sensitize the wider public and youth in particular, on diverse topics around contraception: available different contraception methods, contraception informed choice, unprotected sex risks, unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Since 2018, Madagascar has taken a big leap forward by enabling any individual, regardless of their age, to have the right to access comprehensive services (information, education, communication, support and reference) in terms of Reproductive health and Family Planning. But this legal shift is struggling to be applicable in real life, showcasing even more the need of information and sensitization among young people of both gender and healthcare providers on those issues.

Furthermore, it is crucial to give more responsibility to boys/men as contraception is everyone’s business: girls, women, boys and men. Male condom is one the only scarce available contraception methods at their place, focus should be more on promoting its use.

Necessity to consider the involvement of COVID-19

Collected data showed that COVID-19 along with its consequences and the measures put in place by the authorities to contain the spread have adversely impacted the access to essential services of sexual and reproductive health. In Antananarivo, that translates into a significant decrease in the rate of Family Planning (FP) new users (NU). In fact, an analysis comparing 2020 and 2019 data helped to showcase a change in:

FP NU RATE ON 18 CSBs

 

 

 

MARCH

- 24%

 

 

APRIL

- 46%

 

MAY

- 35%

 

JUNE

- 12%

 

JULY

- 44%

 

 

However, in this pandemic period, it is essential to ensure the continuity of sexual and reproductive health essential services to prevent unwanted pregnancies particularly. Thus, we suggest the multiplication of community-based services (establishment of distribution networks across Fokontany and public places, home services, use of mobile clinics …) and making sure that contraceptive products are free. All heath contact possibilities (e.g. vaccination of infants, postpartum care …) must be used to offer beneficiaries a contraceptive offer.

For adolescents and young people specifically, the service offer provided at the level of structures intended for young people must be reinforced (youth centres, youth spaces, entertainment centres, sports centres, …) by equipping them contraceptive services offer. Innovative approaches in connection with “digital health” must also be promoted and adopted: information via text messages, use of social media platforms and establishment of mobile applications, etc.

 

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