Welcome Newsletter July 2020 by Prof. Marleen Temmerman

Welcome in this bizarre new environment since the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world in unprecedented ways, raising new challenges for health, and for sexual and reproductive health and human rights worldwide. Humanity is resilient and able to adapt to new situations, but none of us have ever lived a pandemic with such a huge global impact on all people of the world, especially the most vulnerable ones.

Experiences around the world broadcasted during the current COVID19 pandemic and former public health crises showed significant disruption, distortion, and deterioration of essential primary health care and first and second referral levels. These, subsequently, impacted on population health, particularly on sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn child and adolescent health in underserved and marginalized population groups in rural and urban areas. Disruption of the health system exposes youth to reduced uptake of adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) services, including post abortion care. Adolescent girls and boys in insecure homes settings suffer increased exposure to sexual abuse and violence. In the event of a pregnancy, women are at greater risk of pregnancy related illnesses and death due to interruptions and/or restricted access to pregnancy and delivery care. A lot of work is ongoing and much more needs to be done!

Proud of our ICRH community who did not wait and sit back, but immediately addressed the effects of the covid pandemic on SRHR in our different geographies,  as you will read in this newsletters.  Women, children and adolescents in poor and vulnerable settings come often last, let’s continue to engage and fight for ‘women, children adolescents first’!