Coronavirus crisis may deny 9.5 million women access to family planning

Up to 9.5 million women and girls could miss out on vital family planning services this year because of Covid-19, potentially resulting in thousands of deaths.

Marie Stopes International warned on Friday that travel restrictions and lockdowns could have a devastating affect on women as they struggle to collect contraceptives and access other reproductive healthcare services, such as safe abortions, across the 37 countries in which it works.

MSI estimates that with an 80% reduction in service delivery for three months, and minimal services for the remainder of the year, 9.5 million people will miss out. If things were to return to normal after three months of disruption, the figure would drop to 4 million.

The organisation predicts that the loss of services could result in as many as 3 million additional unintended pregnancies, 2.7 million unsafe abortions and 11,000 pregnancy-related deaths.