COVID-19 induced restrictions that have been in effect and periodically reviewed since March 2020, have had negative impact on access to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).
By Patricia Mashiri
Speaking during a virtual meeting on adapting to the new normal, Dean Mtata, Youth Officer, SRHR Africa Trust (SAT) said there is need to develop systems that cushion you g people against shocks such as natural disasters and disease pandemics.
SRHR services are limited for young people. The lockdown brought in limited movement of people therefore the youths have been greatly affected by this. This caused the rise in sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancies were on the rise. Travelling have been restricted.
“There is need to develop early warning systems. The health care workers have been giving attitude to people requiring SRHR services saying that they have been putting more focus on the COVID-19 pandemic forgetting that people do not stop needing reproductive health services. We should not forget other pandemics because we are in a pandemic,” said Mtata.
SAT Youth Officer, Vimbai Nyika said the pandemic has forced young people to adopt some negative coping mechanisms as a way of tying to escape from from reality.
“The has been rampart drug and alcohol abuse because of frustrations caused by employment loss for such people. Incomes for people were cut off. The lockdown meant that people were supposed to stock up food and other necessities for future use but for the poor, it was not good since they had no money to stock up this has led to stress, depression and anxiety if what will happen to them.
“Social media fueled some of the mental instability in people. It is supposed to share truthful and reliable information around COVID-19. Therefore it should be everyone’s responsibility to make sure that information shared is from authentic sources. There is a lot of misinformation going around vaccines on the social media,” Nyika said.
Meanwhile, Ethel Musara, the Programs Officer for the Institute of Women Social Workers said they have been a lot of cases of gender-based violence within the home setup and cases of depression caused by the pandemic.
“We have been supporting groups of women who have been abused because they are not used to staying in confined places with their husbands for a long time. The lockdowns have caused a rise in gender-based violence in the homes. We have also been offering psycho-social support for men and we still we need to do more especially this third wave has brought so much deaths and people have a lot to deal with.
“People should do more sport and exercises and feed the mind with positive thoughts. Families should support each other in these difficult times,” Musara said.