Bolivia has been under a strict nationwide lockdown, creating challenges for women who need to access contraception or abortion services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One problem has been with the contraceptive supply chain: Workers who usually transport contraceptive supplies have been unable to do so due to stay-at-home orders. Fortunately, Ipas has a longstanding partnership with Bolivia’s national police—having provided them training on sexual and reproductive rights—and police are still permitted to move about during the lockdown, unlike most citizens. Some police units are now helping Ipas Bolivia ensure delivery of contraceptive supplies to health facilities it supports.
Ipas’s work with police before the pandemic included training them on how to handle sexual violence cases, which is valuable now as police work to help women dealing with violence during the lockdown. Police have been worried about contracting COVID-19 when they respond to emergency calls for intrafamily and sexual violence, so Ipas Bolivia is providing them with gloves and masks to make it easier for them to respond to these emergencies and uphold women’s rights during the crisis.
We’re proud of our longstanding partnership with Bolivia’s police force and our ability to work together during the pandemic to protect women’s rights and their access needed care,” says Malena Morales, director of Ipas Bolivia.