“This pandemic is showing everyone how important a strong public health system is,” says Maria Antonieta Alcalde, director of Ipas Central America and Mexico.
Ipas is supporting health systems in Mexico and Central America to ensure abortion and contraception remain available and are provided in ways that protect both patients and health providers from COVID-19 infection. Ipas’s website for Mexican health professionals added a large collection of resources on sexual and reproductive health care during COVID-19. The team has also added COVID-19 information to its mobile app on safe abortion for Mexican providers.
Government support for abortion access is critical during the pandemic. Alongside partners, Ipas has been advocating for governments to identify abortion as an essential health service. The Mexican government did affirm that sexual and reproductive health care—including abortion—must remain essential services. Now Ipas is helping the Ministry of Health develop guidelines for how to provide abortion care during the pandemic. Importantly, the guidelines include self-managed abortion with pills and telemedicine.
“We’ll do everything we can to expand access to abortion pills and telemedicine so women can safely end unwanted pregnancies during the pandemic,” Alcalde says. “I’m hopeful these services will continue into the future as well.”
Ipas will continue talking with our partners in the region—governments, civil society organizations, pharmacists, leaders of health sciences schools and more—to identify opportunities for mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on abortion care.
“The pandemic prevents us from getting together physically, but it’s the perfect time to come together virtually and strategize on how we can improve abortion access now and also build the world we want to see after the pandemic is over,” Alcalde says.
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