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Newsletter | May 2020 Edition
Dear Partner,
As the world tries to grapple with one of the deadliest viruses, our healthcare workers are constantly finding themselves knee-deep in this crisis. This month, we honoured their courage via our social media communications and also highlighted the current challenges affecting the smooth functioning of services related to abortion and family planning in India.
At the onset of the lockdown, nearly 100 clinics, part of Government’s family planning program providing contraception and safe abortion services, had to stop their operations following the guidelines issued by the Government. Withstanding the dangers of the pandemic, Pratigya Campaign along with our partners, FRHS India, DKT Janani, Family Planning Association of India (FPAI), and ParivarSeva Sanstha (PSS) came together to attend to and support clients at a time when mobility has been greatly restricted.
Offering Essential Safe Abortion (SA) and Post Abortion Family Planning (PAFP) Services In India During Lockdown
70 Clinics across
63 Cities & Towns across
15 States
Service Delivery Guidelines & Protocols Followed
Screening of clients coming in for service
Maintaining social distancing
Use of PPE’s by every staff member
Reduction in fee by 50% at some clinics to provide affordable services
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FRHS India Studies the Impact of COVID19 On India’s Family Planning Program
Ever since the nationwide lockdown began on March 25, 2020, there has been an adverse impact on the supply of and access to contraceptive services.
Foundation of Reproductive Health Services India studied this impact under three scenarios - Best-case, Likely-case and Worst-case - and its implication in terms of loss of services and the consequent impact on the number of unintended pregnancies, the number of abortions and maternal deaths.
FRHS India examined the available data from the supply side i.e. the clinical FP services provided and number of contraceptives sold/distributed.
FRHS India Studies the Impact of COVID19 On India’s Family Planning Program Infographic Table
The study has been done for India and for specific states - Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Advocacy Win: Abortion services notified as essential services Stock Image
Advocacy Win:
Abortion services notified as essential services
Unfortunately, COVID19 has meant that other health services including abortion and family planning have taken a hit. Pratigya Campaign along with its partners advocated for the identifying of abortion services as ‘essential’ and reached out to the government highlighting the time-sensitive nature of abortion. Pratigya Campaign wrote to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and private organisations such as the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) to add abortion services in the list of essential services which was acknowledged by both, post which guidance was issued by the government and a notification by FOGSI.
MOHFW Guidance Note
FOGSI announces short-terms advisory on COVID19 Pandemic
In a move to ensure the safety and welfare of women, their families and the public in general during the on-going pandemic. The Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India laid down few advisories and special measures to follow to help women receive the necessary abortion services.
FOGSI short term advisory
FOGSI Announces Short-terms Advisory on COVID19 Pandemic Stock Image
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MTP Amendment Bill 2020 Passed in Lok Sabha
On March 17, 2020, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill was passed in Lok Sabha after being introduced earlier in February this year. Before this, members of the Coalition, along with our civil society partners, came together to brainstorm on the now passed amendments so as to propose clear recommendations and draft suggestions for the Bill and MTP Rules. While the Coalition welcomed the move to amend the MTP Bill of 1971, it had urged the Government to consider these recommendations. The recommendations were shared with Members of Parliament, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Women and Child Development and bureaucrats.
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Digital Press Conference by FRHS India
On May 28th, 2020, FRHS India held a digital press conference on account of International Day of Action for Women’s Health, on the topic ‘Impact of COVID 19 Pandemic on Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Services’ with Mr VS Chandrashekar, CEO, FRHS India and CAG, Pratigya Campaign for Gender Equality, Mr Vivek Malhotra, CEO, Population Health Services India, Mr Vinoj Manning, CEO, Ipas Development Foundation and CAG member Pratigya Campaign and Dr Richa Salvi, Technical Programme Manager, FPAI as key speakers.
Digital Press Conference by FRHS India Stock Image
The agenda of the conference was to highlight the impact of Covid-19 on family planning and safe abortion services to understand how millions of couples are losing access to Family Planning services causing a spike in the number of unintended pregnancies, child births and maternal deaths this year.
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Accessing abortions during the lockdown
When Krishna reached out to our team in Etah, she was already pregnant for 9 weeks and 4 days. Likely to be a cause of a failed sterlization procedure, she expressed the need for urgent abortion care. Our COT team scheduled FDS and delivered female sterilizations and IUCD to Krishna. However, by the time Krishna decided to avail the procedure for medical termination of pregnancy, the nation-wide lockdown on account of Covid19 had been announced, causing most FRHSI clinics to stop operations immediately.
Accessing Abortions During Lockdown Stock Image
The FRHSI team, following all government protocol and safety guidelines, was able to re-start the services at it's clinic in Bareilly to where our Etah team travelled with the client and provided her with safe abortion and post-abortion family services.
Another such successful story is of Rajjo Devi who travelled 45kms from her home to the FRHS clinic in Bareilly to avail safe abortion services. Here, too, our team was well equipped to provide her with the needed information about family planning.
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Pratigya is a network of individuals and organisations working towards protecting and advancing women’s rights and their access to safe abortion care in India, working with governments, organisations and media at the national and state levels.