7 million unintended pregnancies, 1.5 million unsafe abortions feared globally during COVID-19 lockdown

Updated: 20 August, 2020 10:24 IST | Agencies | Johannesburg

India with its abrupt, months-long lockdown has been hit especially hard

A woman with her baby walks along a downtown street in Johannesburg, South Africa. File pic/AP
A woman with her baby walks along a downtown street in Johannesburg, South Africa. File pic/AP

Millions of women and girls globally have lost access to contraceptives and abortion services because of the pandemic. India with its abrupt, months-long lockdown has been hit especially hard.

Across 37 countries, nearly 2 million fewer women received services between January and June than in the same period last year, Marie Stopes International says in a new report — 1.3 million in India alone. It expects 9,00,000 unintended pregnancies worldwide as a result, along with 1.5 million unsafe abortions and more than 3,000 maternal deaths.

Those numbers "will likely be greatly amplified" if services falter elsewhere in Latin America, Africa and Asia, Stopes' director of global evidence, Kathryn Church, said. The UN Population Fund warns of up to 7 million unintended pregnancies worldwide. A surge in teen pregnancies was reported in Kenya, while some young women in Nairobi's Kibera slum resorted to using broken glass, sticks and pens to try to abort pregnancies, said Diana Kihima with the Women Promotion Centre. Two died of their injuries, while some can no longer conceive.

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First Published: 20 August, 2020 07:30 IST

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