Youth and Family Planning
During Covid-19, tens of millions of individuals have been unable to access family planning information and contraception. Most affected are young people, who even in the best of times, face discrimination and stigma. To overcome barriers, physicians, UN agencies, and international non-governmental organizations are employing new strategies for delivering sexual and reproductive health information and services during the pandemic and beyond.
What others are doing
- Providing information directly to youth: FIGO’s Committee on Contraception and Family Planning is piloting in Ethiopia, Ask Dr. Figo, a free, anonymous website for people (especially youth) to ask SRH questions and receive answers free of judgement in their own language. The long-term goal of Ask Dr. Figo is to go global.
- Prioritising adolescents: Marie Stopes International in Ghana has been proactively following up with adolescent clients to inform them that services are still running and reminding them of upcoming appointments.
- Delivery of contraceptives: PSI Uganda and PACE Uganda are using boda boda (bicycle and motorcycle) drivers to delivery contraceptives to pharmacies, health retailers, and directly to girls and women.
- Expanding the knowledge base: WHO is now working with partners within and outside the UN system to gather country-level examples of responses to the SRH needs of adolescents in the context of COVID-19.
What you can do
To make access easier for young people during COVID-19 and after:
- Advocate for increased availability of SRH services particularly commodities by highlighting to policy makers the implicated cost of not doing so.
- Advocate to repeal restrictive laws (parental or spousal consent) on access to contraception or abortion.
- Promote task shifting and task sharing with midwives, nurses, pharmacists, and non-gynecologist doctors such as general practitioners to overcome staffing shortages.
- Encourage innovation in SRH education, delivery, and self-care interventions such as self-injectable contraceptives and home pregnancy tests.
- Learn more about serving adolescents during the pandemic: Not on Pause: Responding to the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents in the context of the Covid-19 crisis.