When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Eswatini saw a close to 50% drop in women accessing family planning services. When women lose the ability to plan their families, unintended pregnancies occur. Unintended pregnancies can disrupt a woman’s education, place financial burden on her and her family, and expose her to the risk of pregnancy complications.
Nolwazi was one of the women in Eswatini who was at risk of losing access to her contraception when COVID-19 lockdowns began. Nolwazi is a youth empowerment advocate mentoring young girls in her community, and a mother to one. Family planning is critical to Nolwazi realizing her dream of being a teacher. She plans to avoid pregnancy so she can complete her studies and receive a primary teacher’s diploma.
Thanks to you, UNFPA has been there for women like Nolwazi throughout the pandemic. In Eswatini a UNFPA supported SMS text message service sends women monthly reminders to refill their birth control. During lockdown in Eswatini, these reminders were vital to maintaining every woman’s access to family planning services.
Nolwazi said “With the lockdown movement restrictions, it’s easy to forget the date to return to the health facility. These messages beyond encouraging us to go for the service, also act as a reminder.”
For UNFPA’s acting head of office in Eswatini, Margaret Thwala-Tembe, “ensuring that women continue accessing these services is one way we can mitigate COVID-19’s impact on the health of vulnerable groups like women and girls.” For $48 you can provide 40 women like Nolwazi with contraceptives to allow them to plan if and when to get pregnant.
Your support is critical to avoiding the pandemic rolling back progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide. Please donate today!