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In the news: Lockdowns shut off healthcare to millions of women

Birth control, GBV-support, and HIV testing are out of reach to more women as COVID-19 shutters clinics around the globe.

A doctor with a newborn at a hospital in Uganda, one of the 64 countries where coronavirus lockdowns have triggered the closure of more than 5,600 sexual and reproductive healthcare clinics. (Zahara Abdul/REUTERS)

Coronavirus lockdowns have triggered the closure of more than 5,600 sexual and reproductive healthcare clinics in 64 countries, according to data from the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

The closures are making it difficult for millions of women to access contraception, abortions, HIV testing, or support for gender-based violence.

Within the federation’s network, South Asia has seen the largest number of closures overall, with more than 1,872 clinics and other service facilities affected. Africa has seen the largest number of mobile clinics closed, with 447 shut. Countries particularly affected by the closures include Pakistan, El Salvador, Zambia, Sudan, Colombia, Malaysia, Uganda, Ghana, Germany, Zimbabwe, and Sri Lanka, IPPF said. Some clinics and centres still operating have also reported a shortage of contraceptives and HIV-related medicine.

 “These figures show that millions of women and girls across the world now face an even greater challenge in trying to take care of their own health and bodies,” said Alvaro Bermejo, IPPF’s director general.

– Paisley Dodds

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