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Challenges in Accessing Family Planning Services During COVID-19 Lockdown by Urban Poor: Evidence from Indore and Agra

Siddharth Agarwal, Urban Health Resource Center
Shabnam Verma, Urban Health Resource Centre (UHRC)
Mayaram Sharma, Urban Health Resource Centre
C B Sharma, Urban Health Resource Centre
Neeraj Verma, Urban Health Resource Centre (UHRC)
Kanupriya Kothiwal, Urban Health Resource Centre (UHRC)

COVID-19 has adversely affected routine Family Planning access for the urban poor. In-person qualitative interviews were conducted with 30 slum women requiring contraceptive services during April-June 2020. Key Informant Interviews were conducted with 15 frontline health workers and private nurses. The purpose was to understand challenges faced in accessing FP services during COVID-19 lockdown and coping measures adopted. Findings suggested that most ASHAs being engaged in COVID-19 duty, were unavailable to provide oral pills and condoms. Few ASHAs distributed their pre-COVID-19 stock of oral pills. Women were often unable to leave their homes to purchase oral pills nor could they convey this need to husbands as they consumed OCPs secretly. Among couples, where men were aware of the importance of birth spacing measures, they purchased condoms from nearby chemist shops. Services for injectable contraceptives (DMPA), IUCD and tubal ligation were shut during the lockdown. Measures for 2021 and beyond should entail appointing depot holders in slums who store OCPs, condoms, distribute to couples, coordinate with ASHAs. Recruiting more Urban ASHAs. Expanding availability of OCPs, condoms through Anganwadi worker and helper who stays in same slum. Immediately start mobile Health clinics providing OCPs, condoms, injectable contraceptives.

Keywords: COVID-19, Family planning and contraception, Urbanization and urban populations, Qualitative data/methods/approaches

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session P21.