Global Affairs Canada (GAC) has awarded $4.9 million CAD of rapid funding to MSI, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and RNW Media to help tackle the effects that COVID-19 has had on the sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) of women and girls in some of the world’s most marginalised communities.
Through a partnership led by MSI, the funding will ensure that the hardest hit frontline services across both MSI’s and IPPF’s country programmes stay open. There will be a particular focus on maintaining access to sexual and reproductive health services for the most vulnerable in these communities, including 15-19-year olds who are at increased risk of unplanned pregnancy and those living in poverty.
The funding will also be used to increase access to comprehensive SRHR information and remote counselling services through contact centres and other digital platforms as well as to expand access to telemedicine for home-based safe abortion care services.
By partnering with RNW Media, MSI as global leaders in sexual and reproductive healthcare, hope to create inclusive, youth-friendly content on SRHR including information around safe abortion, sexual and gender-based violence and COVID-19.
Responding to the news, Simon Cooke, CEO of MSI, said:
“Women and girls, especially those in developing countries, have been uniquely and disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, bearing the brunt of lockdowns and restrictions that stop them accessing sexual and reproductive health services as well as facing increases in sexual and gender-based violence.
“We are grateful to Global Affairs Canada for its continued support at this critical time and thanks to this funding, we and our partners will be able to maintain vital frontline SRHR services for women and girls in some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities.
“The commitment of GAC will not only save women’s lives but also support health systems as countries recover from the devasting impacts of COVID-19.”