The impact of COVID-19 mitigation measures on sexual and reproductive health in low- and middle-income countries : a rapid review

Authors & affiliation

Elizabeth Ochola, Maheshwari Andhavarapu, Poppy Sun, Abdu Mohiddin, Okwaro Ferdinand, Marleen Temmerman


Pandemic mitigation measures can have a negative impact on access and provision of essential healthcare services including sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. This rapid review looked at the literature on the impact of COVID-19 mitigation measures on SRH and gender-based violence (GBV) on women in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) using WHO rapid review guidance. We looked at relevant literature published in the English language from January 2020 to October 2021 from LMICs using WHO rapid review methods. A total of 114 articles were obtained from PubMed, Google Scholar and grey literature of which 20 met the eligible criteria. Our review found that there was an overall reduction in; (a) uptake of services as shown by lower antenatal, postnatal and family planning clinic attendance, (b) service delivery as shown by reduced health facility deliveries, and post abortion care services and (c) reproductive health outcomes as shown by an increase in incidence of GBV especially intimate partner violence. COVID-19 mitigation measures negatively impact SRH of women in LMICs. Findings from this review could inform policy makers in the health sector to recognise the potential adverse effects of COVID-19 responses on SRH in the country, and therefore implement mitigation measures.

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