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Analysis shows drop in family planning uptake

UNFPA Country Representative to Lesotho Dr Marc Derveeuw

May 3, 2021 2 min read

2 min read

AN analysis undertaken by the UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund from the District Health Management System (DHMS2) has shown that COVID19 restrictions led to a 14percent decline in the number of family planning coverage in 2020 in some selected districts, compared to 2019.

The analysis reveals that the main reason for the decline in family planning is the COVID-19 restrictions.

The nationwide strike by health care providers due to lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in July 2020 also impacted the uptake of family planning services last year.

In addition, the health workers did not consider family planning services as an essential service during the lockdown period.

The most significant drop in access to services was noted in Quthing with a 40percent decline in family planning visits from March to July 2020 as compared to 2019. 

Overall, the districts where the services were poor before the lockdown saw the greatest drop as a result of the lockdown measures.

Reduction of the unmet need for family planning is high on UNFPA’s agenda.

In Lesotho, the UNFPA supports the government in efforts to reduce the unmet need for family planning which is currently estimated at 18percent.

Access to and use of contraception is an important strategy to reduce maternal mortality in the country.

The UNFPA Representative to Lesotho Dr Marc Derveeuw emphasised that access to family planning is a fundamental right. He has reiterated that family planning is at the heart of UNFPA’s mandate and transformative results in Lesotho which are especially ending preventable maternal deaths, ending unmet need for family planning.

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Dr Derveeuw said the only way to overcome the decline in family planning as a result of the COVID-19 Lockdown is to invest in long-term methods such as implants, IUDs and injectables.

The agency will further step up the roll-out of the Sayana Press method, which has proven to be a successful method to reduce the unmet need for family planning.

Dr Derveeuw has also commended the Lesotho government for its commitment and for starting to procure family planning commodities from the national budget in 2020. 

“UNFPA will continue to avail resources to support efforts towards ending the unmet need to family planning in Lesotho,” he has reaffirmed.

UNFPA works to support family planning by ensuring a continuous, reliable supply of quality contraceptives, strengthening national health systems, advocating for policies supportive of family planning, and gathering data to support the impact of the programmes.


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