Phnom Penh, Saturday 26th September 2020:
This World Contraception Day, Marie Stopes International Cambodia urges donors, partners and the global community to ensure women have continued access to contraception throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Currently, across the globe, there are 214 million women with an unmet need for contraception and this is only increasing. During COVID-19, an estimated of 1.4 million women globally lost access to its family planning services alone.
In Cambodia the global pandemic has lead to loss of employment; the hardest hit sectors including tourism, manufacturing exports, and construction. 12 percent of garment and footwear factories, where most employees are women, have halted operations since mid-April 2020 affecting close to 100,000 workers. The return of many of these women to rural provinces may put them out of reach of, or unable to afford, essential contraception services.
For younger women, accessing contraceptive advice and services can be especially challenging. As a result, large numbers of young women do not have the information they need about sex and how to prevent a pregnancy. 12.3% of pregnancies among 15-24 years old are unintended. Access to non-judgmental youth friendly contraceptive information and services is essential to meet the needs of these groups.
Family planning changes lives, giving every woman the freedom to choose her own future. Improving access would result in millions more girls being able to complete their education, enter the workforce, and having the power to make decisions about their own lives and futures.
Call to action
Marie Stopes International Cambodia is therefore urging local health authorities, donors and health sector partners to work together to maintain or increase their current support for access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services and to prioritise this in their COVID-19 responses, to ensure women and girls have timely access to essential services when needed most.
Amy Williamson, MSIC Country Director, said,
“It is so important for information on contraception and proper reproductive health counselling to be accessible by all those who need it – and it costs only around 3 cents per day to protect a young woman from an unintended pregnancy for one year, giving her the chance to finish her education or even saving her life.”