NGOs warn of spurt in unwanted pregnancies
#GS2 #Women #Health
Experts point to temporary ban on family planning services and poor access to contraceptives
- A temporary ban on family planning services at government facilities and poor access to over-the-counter contraceptives, such as oral pills and condoms, during the nationwide lockdown will result in lakhs of unwanted pregnancies, leading to a spurt in unsafe abortions and maternal deaths, experts have warned.
- An analysis, conducted by the Foundation for Reproductive Health Services (FRHS) India, estimates that nearly 2.56 crore couples may not be able to access contraception services during the period after the lockdown and until the return of normalcy by September.
- This will lead to a loss of 6.9 lakh sterilisation services, 9.7 lakh intra-uterine contraceptive devices (IUCDs) and 40.59 crore condoms, among other forms of contraception.
- As a result, there will be an additional 23 lakh unintended pregnancies, 6.79 lakh child births, 14.5 lakh abortions (including 8.34 lakh unsafe abortions) and 1,743 maternal deaths.
- The numbers will be higher if there is a longer lockdown period and a slower resumption of family planning services after the restrictions are lifted.
- Footfall at OPDs [outpatient departments] and community health care centres has gone down.
- Private clinics have stopped providing general medical services.
- While chemist shops are open, restrictions on mobility mean people’s access to condoms, oral pills and emergency contraceptives is compromised.
- At the same time, as the lockdown continues there are likely to be more pregnancies.