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Access to sexual and reproductive health commodities (SRHC) is, in general, poor in sub-Saharan Africa. The emergence of COVID-19 has only exacerbated this poor access, and has already had disastrous consequences for many in the Global South.
Throughout a five-year programme, the Health Systems Advocacy (HSA) Partners had contributed to stronger health systems that enable people in sub-Saharan Africa to equitably access high-quality sexual and reproductive health services. This remains a key focus, as access is further compromised due to the pandemic itself, as well as unintended consequences from widespread lockdowns.
Several of Health Action International (HAI)’s partners from civil society organisations within sub-Saharan Africa have voiced their concerns over the emphasis on COVID-19 detracting from the very real and serious consequences of a reduced focus on sexual and reproductive health (SRH). Additionally, the HSA project within HAI has continued to advocate for strong health systems that promote SRH and rights for all.
Reversed gains in the advancement of SRHR in Kenya; effects of COVID-19
This article, by MeTA Kenya Coordinator, Dorothy Okemo, was originally published by Access to Medicine Platform, our partner in Kenya working on the Health Systems Advocacy (HSA) Partnership, and snakebite treatment and prevention. It was republished with full permission.
COVID-19 risks turning back the clock on years of essential development work
Efforts to improve the position of women and girls, such as championing sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), including the fight against gender-based violence, has been high on the agenda. This has been, and remains, an essential component of development cooperation, the attainment of universal human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet now, as we face life and death in the time of COVID-19, and watch the devastating impact of coronavirus on the health of populations, the toll on health systems and the economic impact it is already having—those efforts are left in the balance.
The hidden impact of COVID-19 on sexual and reproductive health
This piece was written by guest contributer Denis Kibira, Executive Director of our partners, HEPS-Uganda.
COVID-19 And Its Far-Reaching Health Impacts in Sub-Saharan Africa
As the world reacts to the COVID-19 crisis and pledges billions of dollars to tackle this pandemic, it is more important than ever to conceptualise health holistically, taking into account its social and economic determinants as it is the forthcoming economic and food crises that will also drastically impact public health and health service provision in LMICs, perhaps even more than COVID-19 ever would. In their approaches to dealing with COVID-19, national governments and aid agencies must ensure that continued access to essential health services is on their agenda, and that measures are taken to mitigate the impact of the economic consequences of the pandemic felt by many. If not, we are likely to be facing an additional health crisis in LMICs in the very near future, which will reverse years of development.
Every project within Health Action International has had to adapt over the last few months. Learn about the ways in which each of our projects, and the organisation as a whole, have shifted and responded to the ongoing pandemic that continues to impact access to medicines for everyone, everywhere.