Key Messages

  • In the face of facility service disruptions due to COVID-19, health care providers, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, should strive to maintain continuity of reproductive health care to women and girls as an essential service.

  • When in-person encounters are limited, health care providers should adapt the way contraceptive services are provided by using telehealth whenever possible for counseling, shared decision making, and side effect management, and should make adjustments to provision of contraceptive methods to ensure access.

Globally, approximately 50% of pregnancies are unintended.1 In low- and middle-income countries, where access to health care may be limited, unintended pregnancies can have dire consequences ranging from unsafe abortion to serious pregnancy complications that contribute to maternal and infant mortality.2 As such, contraception is lifesaving and an essential component of reproductive health care. The ability to access and continue using contraception improves women’s reproductive autonomy, reduces unintended pregnancies, and profoundly impacts both women’s and family’s lives, health, empowerment, and well-being, particularly in times of stress and hardship.

As medical systems, clinics, and communities prepare to meet an unprecedented threat causing increased demands for the care of people with COVID-19, strategies to mitigate virus spread and optimize health care resources are evolving and will need to be country specific. Health care providers should strive to ensure continuity of reproductive health care …