REPORT WITH US
WhatsApp: +263 7 18636459
Facebook: The Citizen Bulletin
Due to climate change, access to sunscreen is now a matter of life and death for people with albinism. Image by Patric...Continue Reading...
Failure to access sexual reproductive health services during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic led to many unwanted pregnancies. Image by NAWEC
COVID-19 surfaced as a coterie of challenges for women residing in rural areas. Access to sexual reproductive health services is one of the many challenges they had to deal with in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
HWANGE (The Citizen Bulletin) — “It was during the peak of the COVID -19 pandemic when hospitals were becoming a no go area. I really wanted to get a contraceptive jab but failed. I was unable to walk for 17 kilometres to the next hospital which is Lukhosi, public transport was scarce during that time,” narrates Shantani Dube from Chilanga village.
COVID-19 affected people differently. It left a trail of structural inequalities and worsened gender inequality.
For women like Dube, the effects linger.
“My failure to have Jadelle as a form of contraceptive resulted in me having this baby. Well, I regret it but there is nothing I can do now. I stay in Chilanga, and we only get our health services at Lukhosi hospital which was not accessible during COVID-19-induced lockdowns.”
Shantani Dube, a villager
While COVID-19 has a severe, and in some cases, devastating impact on health systems, in Zimbabwe, studies show that during the peak of COVID-19 there are people whose human rights are least protected. Vulnerable group of people such as women are likely to experience unique difficulties in accessing quality sexual and reproductive healthcare.
Access to Sexual Reproductive Health Rights Services (SRHR) at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult for most rural women in Hwange district. Additionally, most rural women were misinformed about COVID-19 thereby limiting their ability to take care of their bodies and protect themselves from COVID-19 and other sexually transmitted diseases.
“I spent most of the time indoors and failed to access contraceptives, and for me to deny my husband’s his conjugal rights would probably lead to the end of my marriage,” says Redi Phiri another villager from Chilanga.
Women say they could not deny their husbands conjugal rights resulting in unwanted pregnancies.
In 2021, Zimbabwe continued to face multiple hazards dominated by two waves of the COVID-19 outbreak containment measures introduced in 2021, which included lockdowns, school shutdowns, and curfews severely affected business operations and had deleterious impacts on industry, and the informal sector and eroded the fragile livelihoods of vulnerable populations such as women.
Ruth Bikwa the Director of Hopeville Zimbabwe, another organisation which works with vulnerable groups which include women and children, indicated that COVID -19 had left a trail of disaster in the lives of rural women and their children.
“Due to inaccessibility of reproductive services, some rural women had a number of unwanted pregnancies. As a result these children are going to suffer the consequence,” says Bikwa.
ALSO READ: Vulnerable Children Hardhit by COVID-19
A recent research on Maternal, Sexual and Reproductive Health conducted by the Ministry of Health and Child Care shows that the COVID-19 outbreak affected women and young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services, including access to family planning.
Do you have a hyperlocal story to share?
Since You’re Here, We’ve a Small Request…
Our hard-hitting hyperlocal reporting and analysis reaches one in every three people across the greater region of Matabeleland, southwestern Zimbabwe. That means our content reaches approximately 60,000 readers each week. However, in order for our well-rounded journalism to reach more people who need it to make informed decisions about their lives and their communities, we need to build a strong audience of followers that would receive our rigorous reporting in just one place. Because of exorbitant internet data costs, we know most of our readers use messaging apps such as WhatsApp to get all our content in one place. But the platform, predominantly used by our readers, is not primarily designed for content distribution and reader engagement. That is why we’re building a WhatsApp Bot to navigate this challenge. But in order for this strategy to work effectively to serve our needs, we want all our casual readers like you to be part of our growing WhatsApp Community. To be part of this community of registered users, WhatsApp the word "JOIN" to +263 71 863 6459. We look forward to engaging and building a lasting relationship with you. Thank you.