Crisis on the Horizon: Devastating Losses for Global Reproductive Health Are Possible Due to COVID-19

Every year, nearly 700 million women access modern contraceptive methods, over 90 million give birth in a health facility, and tens of millions access safe abortion services all around the world. However, in the midst of this pandemic, bad policies and structural barriers may contribute to many people losing access to these essential services.

In order to get a clearer sense of the potential effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Guttmacher research team used data on sexual and reproductive health service provision from 132 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), covering 1.6 billion women of reproductive age (aged 15–49), to estimate the impact of pandemic-related challenges on the provision of core services and subsequent health outcomes. These challenges include supplies, equipment and staff being diverted to other types of care; supply chain disruptions; women avoiding preventive care or choosing to deliver outside of facilities; and clinic closures.