Webinar: How Can We Progress Gender Equity during COVID-19?

Last week we heard from PSI’s leadership in Kenya and Central America who shared the innovative and necessary ways PSI is working for women and girls to maintain essential sexual and reproductive health services.

Speakers included:

  • Eva Lathrop – Global Medical Director, PSI
  • Joyce Wanderi – CEO, PS Kenya
  • Jorge Rivas – Senior Marketing Manager, PSI Latin America

We invite you to listen to their full remarks below.

Key takeaways from the webinar:

From big challenges come new opportunities

PSI’s response to COVID-19 has shown a spotlight on the creativity and resourcefulness of our country staff around the world. This time of global crisis presents an opportunity to truly redesign healthcare delivery, leverage innovations like self-managed care, pilot the use of new digital tools to distribute lifesaving information and form new partnerships to strengthen capacity of governments and in-country partners.

We must focus on women and girls

Eva Lathrop underscored the vulnerability of women and girls in this pandemic as sexual and reproductive health services are considered non-essential and the first to be eliminated. A recent study by the Guttmacher Institute estimates that a 10% proportional decline in the use of contraceptives in low-and-middle income countries due to reduced access would result in an additional 49 million women with an unmet need for modern contraceptives and an additional 15 million unintended pregnancies over the course of a year. However, frontline responders predict that decline to be closer to a staggering 80%. If these predictions are accurate, this would upend the decades of achievements made in ensuring that women can decide if, when and how they build their families.

Document and share lessons learned

With the quick adoption of new healthcare delivery methods and approaches, PSI and other institutions combatting COVID-19, may not have rigorous research in place, which means documenting anecdotal findings and best practices is crucial to effectively evaluate how the global health community delivers best-in-class care going forward.

Partnerships are more important than ever before

Joyce Wanderi shared how PS Kenya built a dynamic partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Unilever to provide essential resources and personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers in Kenya. With access to PPE, community healthcare workers in Kilifi County, Kenya—a region with one of the lowest modern contraception prevalence rates in the country and persistently high teenage pregnancy rates—are able to safely provide education and family planning to those in need. Additionally, the partnership is producing social and behavior change communications, and handwashing stations.  Learn more about the partnership.

Digital tools are shaping the future of healthcare delivery

In Latin America, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that 27 years of progress on unmet family planning needs are at risk because of COVID-19. To combat this staggering figure, Senior Marketing Manager Jorge Rivas shared the impressive impact of going digital to reach people with information and services through telemedicine, chatbots and online campaigns. Using digital tools, PSI reaches women and girls with care information, contraceptive counseling, contraceptive method follow-up appointments, referrals and general health needs.

Over the past 3 months, a digital campaign by PSI’s health clinic network, Red Segura, reached 400,000 people, received 1,000 telemedicine calls and provided 5,000 virtual counseling sessions through digital messaging. This is just one example of how PSI has turned to digital tools to keep providers safe, while providing essential care to those who need it most.

To learn more, view our interactive map to see where and how PSI is working with women and girls to keep them safe during this pandemic while continuing to provide lifesaving sexual and reproductive healthcare.

Please contact Rena Greifinger, Managing Director of Maverick Collective and MaverickNext, at rgreifinger@psi.org to learn more and how you can get involved.

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