Millions of women will lose access to contraception, face unexpected pregnancies and suffer gender-based violence; as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is according to a grim report from the UNFPA, the United Nations’ sexual and reproductive health agency.
The study, carried out by the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency (UNFPA); has estimated 47 million women in 114 low and middle-income nations will not able to access modern contraception; if the COVID-19 disruption carries on for six months.
Researchers predict there will be an extra seven million unintended pregnancies; as well as 31 million additional cases of gender-based violence.
Some 15 million extra cases of gender-based violence are expected every three months in which the coronavirus lockdown goes on.
- Overtaxed health systems, closed facilities, and disrupted supply chains will curtail access to reproductive care for women and girls, particularly in low-income nations, according to the UNFPA.
- Assuming six months of lockdown, 47 million women in 114 low- to middle-income countries will likely lose access to contraception because of the pandemic, leading to 7 million unintended pregnancies, the report says.
- For every three months of lockdown, 15 million new cases of gender-based violence can be expected, according to the report.
- Over the next decade, 2 million female genital mutilations will result, as the UN reports that the programs designed to prevent the procedure are put on pause.
- 13 million girls may be forced into child marriages in the next ten years that likely could have been prevented prior to the pandemic, UNFPA claims.
Dr Natalia Kanem, executive director of the UNFPA, said: “This new data shows the catastrophic impact that COVID-19 could soon have on women and girls globally.
“The pandemic is deepening inequalities; and millions more women and girls now risk losing the ability to plan their families and protect their bodies and their health.
“Women’s reproductive health and rights must be safeguarded at all costs. The services must continue; the supplies must be delivered and the vulnerable must be protected and supported.”
Campaigners around the world say domestic abuse has rocketed; since governments have introduced lockdown measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.