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Menstruation, sex, and abortion do not stop for pandemics

Comprehensive access and uptake of the above care and services will ensure we are not fighting another pandemic post-coronavirus.

In Summary

• Health CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi has said the government is concerned with reports that many Kenyans have stopped going to hospitals for fear of contracting Covid-19.

• Among the affected services is reproductive health.

Contraception is for both partners
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: Contraception is for both partners
Image: COURTESY

With the rise in the number of coronavirus infections in the country, the health system risks being over-stretched to levels that the Ministry of Health might not contain.

Health CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi has said the government is concerned with reports that many Kenyans have stopped going to hospitals for fear of contracting Covid-19. Among the affected services is reproductive health.

Access and uptake of reproductive health information and services have gone down as most of the non-governmental organisations have reduced on their work and aligned their work towards the fight against Covid-19.

Let us remember that sex does not atop for pandemics! Care and services around sexual reproductive health and rights should be declared essential as we battle coronavirus.

Menstruation, sex, conception, ante-natal care, FGM, domestic violence and even unsafe abortion do not stop for pandemics.

In a report by The Brief,  global sexual health organisations are decrying that Covid-19 is likely to threaten health rights.

With sexual health clinics operating as appointment-only to reduce overcrowded waiting rooms, accessing contraception could be a huge challenge, Brook says.

Brook is a national charity that offers clinical sexual health services and education and wellbeing services for young people.

“Brook expects this to have a serious impact on STI and unintended pregnancy rates, at a time when STI testing/treatment and abortion services are not easily accessible,” Lisa Hallgarten, Head of Policy and Public Affairs says.

Comprehensive access and uptake of the above care and services will ensure we are not fighting another pandemic post-coronavirus.

Through strengthening and intensifying its efforts to unburden the health systems, the Ministry of Health and partners should ensure that care and services around sexual reproductive health and rights are listed as essential services, especially during these times when we have a lot of young people at home.