Contraceptive shortage: 27 900 unintended pregnancies feared
06 August 2020 | Health
A study predicts that up to 27 900 unintended pregnancies may occur in Namibia because of a shortage of contraceptives brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The document, titled 'Maintaining access to contraceptives during Covid-19 disruptions: Potential impacts and mitigation in Namibia' also points out that poorer women are most at risk because they don't have the financial means to obtain contraceptives from private facilities.
“The impact of Covid-19 on contraceptive use will vary depending on the severity and duration of disruptions.
“Without efforts to mitigate this, it is estimated that between 23 400 and 92 900 women could be unable to use contraception, resulting in 585 to 27 900 unintended pregnancies in Namibia,” the report, compiled by the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition and Global Financing Facility, states.
The figures are worked on low disruption of three months, to medium disruption over six months and high disruption over 12 months of the flow of contraceptives into the country because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report pointed out that unless self-injections are available, women using injectable contraceptives are at a high risk of falling pregnant due to supply disruptions, as they require regular injections.
“There also may be different impacts based whether women get access in the public or private sector. In Namibia, however, the public sector serves 75% of users while the remaining 25% get their [services] from the private sector,” the report added.
The report suggested that it may be useful for women to find bridging methods or resupply, however, additional fees at medical facilities may prove an obstacle.
“Demand-side financing or public purchasing of services from the private sector are strategies that have been successful for improving equity in private sector family planning services. Other strategies for ensuring equity may include the use of mobile outreach or community health workers to bring services closer to clients who face restricted mobility or are experiencing declining household income,” the report said.
“In May this year, logistics channels started opening again following disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which negatively affected many countries around the world. By June, most contraceptives and other pharmaceuticals were delivered at the ministry's Central Medical Store (CMS),” health ministry executive director Nangombe said.
He said the following contraceptives were received in June and thereafter distributed to health facilities countrywide:
Norethisterone (Nur-Isterate) injection
Medroxyprogesterone (Depo Provera) injection
“Thus, most health facilities in the country have been supplied with contraceptive stock. The CMS has also issued purchase orders to replenish contraceptive stocks following the distribution of those received earlier.
“We aim to strengthen and ensure, a reliable supply of these critical health commodities. The ministry has therefore decided to procure more contraceptives through the United National Population Fund (UNFPA), using the pooled procurement mechanisms. Procuring through pooled procurement mechanisms has a triple benefit of cost-saving, value for money and reliable delivery times,” Nangombe added.