“Quarantine” Your Uterus!

Harriet Kamashanyu
Posted April 13, 2020 from Uganda
Team leader - Rhythm of Life
Team leader - Rhythm of Life: Harriet expressing herself!! (1/1)

 

The global epidemic of COVID-19 is a wreaking havoc on a wide array of health, economic, social and personal decisions. However, what may be lost in the chaos among other effects and dangers is the specific impact on sexual and reproductive health and rights, both for people in Uganda and around the world. The government of Uganda, policymakers, providers and advocates must be aware of the broad links between the national outbreak response and sexual and reproductive health and rights in order to prepare to mitigate the impact.

Access to effective contraception is one of the most cost-effective interventions to reduce maternal mortality through preventing unintended pregnancy, thereby protecting an individual’s physical and mental health and it is important for people to be able to continue to access contraceptive information and services during the outbreak. Ensuring that people have access to the contraceptive services they need also reduces avoidable pressures on the health system to manage the consequences of unintended pregnancy.

As the entire country is in a lock-down, there is limited or no access to sexual and reproductive health services, as travel restrictions limit transportation options, the economic slowdown pushes many individuals into more precarious financial situations like stocking food and the first aid medical kit, and healthcare system capacity becomes increasingly limited. There remains a lot of worry about the baby -boom post-COVID- 19 season.

Assessing the post-COVID-19 era, the pandemic will affect aspects of our lives in many ways. As the coming weeks and months unfold, we will begin to understand better the impacts and effective responses to the outbreak. In broader public health discussions, sexual and reproductive health and rights can be overlooked. Outbreaks can heighten vulnerabilities of different population groups, accentuate gender inequities and lead to neglect of the needs and rights of the most marginalized, including women and girls, refugees, migrants, people living with disability and people living with HIV. The pressure on health services could disrupt routine maternity, contraceptive, abortion and other sexual and reproductive health services. Social and economic pressures may increase domestic and gender-based violence and sexual exploitation.

As much we appreciate the government for the stringent measures put up against the spread of this pandemic, some effects are already exhibited – pushing healthcare systems to their limits and compelling governments and healthcare institutions to make difficult and increasingly urgent decisions about how to deliver care while also curbing virus transmission – it is critical that responses to this crisis recognize that sexual and reproductive health services are essential, respecting people’s rights to make decisions about their bodily autonomy and integrity.

The COVID-19 pandemic poses particular threats to poor and marginalized women who face greater difficultly in accessing the SRHR services, resources, and access to quality health and social services. Women’s societal roles as caregivers, wives and mothers places them at greater risk in exacerbating the impact of COVID-19.

Access to sexual and reproductive health services should not be postponed. This time round, let us defy history, work toward international co-operation and pull together to develop inclusive, global views on how to learn from, resolve and come through this latest threat to health for all. As we are quarantined in our respective homes and other avenues, let us remember and prioritise several other women whose uteruses too need to be quarantined for the good of the nation.

 

The Writer is Founder & Executive Director

Rhythm of Life – Uganda.

Comments 18

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Tamarack Verrall
Apr 13
Apr 13

Hi Harriet,
This is the kind of news that is so important for us to know, and for all of the ways that change is critically needed, laid out for solution. All of the ways that women are maltreated are rising to the surface. Thanks for speaking out so strongly, and with the details included. "...the broad links between the national outbreak response and sexual and reproductive health and rights". The photo of you in action is so empowering to see.
In sisterhood,
Tam

Hello, Harriet,

You are right. This is not the best time to conceive a child, but sadly it happens. Just like after the world’s deadliest Supertyphoon wrecked havoc in our country, there were a lot of pregnant women due to the three-month loss of electricity.

Thank you for raising your voice in this issue. We don’t know how long this pandemic will be, but it is safer to “quarantine our uterus”.

Please stay safe!

chimdirimebere
Apr 14
Apr 14

Harriet dear,
Your write-up is very thought provoking. You have me put on my thinking cap. It is indeed a very difficult situation in which we found ourselves in - the baby boom post COVID-19.

Thanks for awakening a consciousness in all of us. Well done, my namesake.

Harriet Chimdirimebere Okoro

Just_s.i.r.i
Apr 14
Apr 14

Thank you for this important information hope you are doing great during this moment

Kabahenda
Apr 14
Apr 14

My dear Harriet,
Thank you very much for this comprehensive piece on the impact of CODIV-19 on sexual and reproductive health and rights of women in Uganda.

I have many complaints from women and your observation about post
CODIV-19 births is not farfetched. On the contrary, I call it engineering poverty because the complaints are coming from women in rural areas who are already burdened with children that they cannot clothe or educate.
This is indeed a dilemma for countries in Africa where social isolating is necessary to prevent the spread of the virus, but whose unintended consequences have serious social and economic implications.

I encourage you to bring your concerns to the attention of women in positions of power, including civil society organisations that advocate for the well-being of women.
All the best

MUKABA ZAWADI
Apr 15
Apr 15

well said, thank you for sharing this story

Kika Katchunga
Apr 15
Apr 15

Hello
Thank you for sharing with us; very interesting; well note

Anita Shrestha
Apr 15
Apr 15

Thank you for sharing

Kadon Faith
Apr 15
Apr 15

Thank you Harriet
This is a wake up call.

Beth Lacey
Apr 15
Apr 15

You are making a very important, serious point

Thelma obani 2020
Apr 15
Apr 15

Quarantine your uterus got me honestly, came sooo strong like a trigger. Sure words, well written and very true

Oluwatoyin Olabisi
Apr 16
Apr 16

Beautiful Thought Provoking Write Up but very very true.Thank you for the insight.Please follow back

ADELE NANA
Apr 17
Apr 17

Hi Harriet,
great thought and the moment is really so crucial to raise voices on such a pertinent subject. The impact of confinement during this period will be very disastrous on the African continent specially. Very good luck with the work and stay safe

Sinyuy Geraldine
Apr 20
Apr 20

Hello Harriet, thank you for write up which Iwant to call a wake up call. Yes, I agree with you that Covid 19 lockdown will bring so many untold negative things with it including unwanted pregnancies, violence against young girls and women, increase in poverty level etc. We need to pray and see how to counsle those who are likely to fall victims of such violence. I read onli e that there maybe more unwanted pregnancies as the restriction of travels will limit access to contracceptives etc.
Thanks again for your story.

Lily Habesha
Apr 21
Apr 21

YOu're right!!!
Lily

Michael Kelly
Apr 21
Apr 21

I think you are exactly right on your truthful views of a problem, few in media shed light on.

Jeanine A
Apr 21
Apr 21

This is a great piece to highlight the competing interest of how to keep one's citizens safe. It's the responsibilities of the leaders to manage these competing interest and help women.

Corine Milano
May 18
May 18

Harriet, this story is brilliant - thank you for this important perspective! I have just sent you an email to the address associated with your World Pulse account, as World Pulse has justselected your article for a Story Award! Please see details and the edited article in your email inbox. Feel free to reach out to me with questions via email or via private message. Congrats! Corine