March 1, 2021
Protecting Global Gains highlights examples of community innovation in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with a particular focus on stories that point the way toward more resilient health systems. Our latest story is no exception: Latin American activists keep contraceptive supplies flowing profiles an advocate-led and data-driven approach that helped the delivery of contraceptive commodities continue despite supply-chain disruptions caused by COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a combination of extended production times, labor shortages and border closures that threaten to cause contraceptive commodity stock-outs and reverse decades of valuable gains made by national family planning programs. In Peru, for example, experts estimate that as many as 731,000 women could have an unmet contraceptive need, potentially resulting in hundreds of thousands of unintended pregnancies.
It was in this context that advocates representing 14 Latin American and Caribbean countries developed timelines that took into account national stocks, shipping delays, monthly consumption and government purchases. The data fed into a simple Green-Yellow-Red framework that helped governments quickly determine when it was time to order new supplies to avoid potential stockouts. Advocates also identified over 60 pharmaceutical companies within the region that could serve as alternative suppliers in case global shortages or supply chain disruptions worsened.
These efforts build on more than a decade of work by the global Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition and its network of members in Latin America and the Caribbean, ForoLAC, to strengthen global supply chains and increase access to a full range of affordable, quality reproductive health supplies in low- and middle-income countries. Their success also highlights the importance of building health systems that use data and technology effectively, and are able to quickly adapt in a crisis.
Follow Protecting Global Gains on social media at @hivpxresearch, @theglobalfight, @Amref_Worldwide and #ProtectingGlobalGains, and consider amplifying these stories on your own social media. Advocates can call for continued national and global investment in efforts to minimize the toll of COVID-19 on sexual and reproductive health, and hold national leaders accountable to their commitments to improve access to contraceptive information, services and supplies. Visit www.protectingglobalgains.org to learn more about how to take action.