Guidelines on FPRH during COVID-19 in Sindh

COVID-19 is putting enormous pressure on health systems as well as economies. The evidence shows that women and girls suffer more during epidemics since their reproductive health needs become less priority under emergency situation.

Current outbreak in Pakistan has drawn attention towards need for continuity of reproductive health and family planning services for women. In current situation, women are foreseen to have serious mobility issue and will not be able to reach facilities. Disruption in family planning services could be minimized through a) preparedness actions, b) crisis response, and c) coordinated transition back to routine services.

There is every possibility that due to partial lock downs, facilities may face stock out of commodities, health workers being overwhelmed with work regarding Outbreak, resulting into unwanted pregnancies, induced abortions, side effects and issues of infection prevention.

Besides, humanitarian emergencies result into increased domestic violence, vulnerability of adolescents and sexual abuse that would compromise ability of young women to avail RH services.

Based on international experiences and provincial legal frameworks, the Government of Sindh issues Guidelines for service providers engaged in provision of Family Planning and Reproductive Health (FPRH) services.

These Guidelines are in line with recently passed, Sindh Reproductive Healthcare Rights Act, 2019. It is stated in the clause 6 sub clause XII of the Act that “Minimum Service Package on integrated RH services shall be prepared and put in place related to disaster/crisis situation”.

The guidelines are based on Safety Measures; integrated FPRH services at health and population welfare facility level; within community; quarantine centers; supply of commodities; and systems strengthening measures