ZIMBABWE could experience a spike in unwanted pregnancies after being identi ed as one of the countries that have closed some sexual reproductive health facilities due to COVID-19 restrictions, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has said.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
A recent report by the IPPF said at least 100 family planning facilities in some countries including Zimbabwe have been closed due to lockdowns imposed by governments to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The closure could likely result in a hike in the number of unintended pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections.
“Countries, particularly a ected by closures include Pakistan, El Salvador, Zambia, Sudan, Colombia, Malaysia, Uganda, Ghana, Germany, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka,” the IPPF report read.
“All have reported more than 100 closures of clinics and or community based service outlets. Dozens of IPPF’s members say they have been forced to cut sexual and reproductive healthcare services as a result of COVID 19 restrictions.”
The organisation said individuals must have a choice on whether to become pregnant through access to reproductive health facilities.
“Globally, the unmet need for contraception remains too high. It is estimated that 214 million women and girls
are not using modern contraception despite wanting to avoid pregnancy. And this was before the COVID-19 pandemic, which is derailing access to contraception.”
The IPPF said, for example, the world’s largest condom producer – Malaysia Karex Bhd – which makes one
in every five condoms globally, was forced to close for a week in March and before only getting permission to reopen at 50% capacity.
The IPPF also feels that the closures of borders and other restrictions imposed in the face of COVID-19 further a ect the shipping and distribution of commodities.
“Delays in the production and delivery of contraceptive supplies at global and national levels will lead to
stock outs of supplies, severely impacting contraceptive access,” the IPPF said.
The Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey (2010/11) shares that the bulk of family planning services in the country are o ered through the public sector.
The private sector supplies the majority of injectables (88%), female sterilisation (66%), and implants and oral
contraceptives (74%) each.