The COVID-19 pandemic has had major negative impacts on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) worldwide, and at the same time many donors have reduced their aid. Sweden is therefore providing SEK 40 million to Sida’s Strategy for SRHR in sub-Saharan Africa and SEK 100 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The COVID-19 pandemic has already claimed more than one million lives worldwide, and the indirect impacts are very extensive, not least in the case of SRHR. Access to modern contraceptives, safe and legal abortions, and comprehensive sexuality education has deteriorated. Child marriage and sexual and gender-based violence, including genital mutilation, are on the rise. Women, children, and other vulnerable groups are hard hit when prevention and care programmes stop working. The pandemic has also led to human rights restrictions and aggravated the situation of vulnerable groups. The situation in Africa is particularly serious. The Government is therefore providing a total of SEK 140 million to counteract the displacement effects that the pandemic has had on vital activities linked to SRHR.
“Infant and maternal mortality is increasing globally again as a consequence of COVID-19, not least in Africa. In addition, human rights are threatened as a result of the pandemic. We cannot accept that development gains are being reversed. Sweden is therefore increasing funding to SRHR-related issues by a total of SEK 140 million,” says Minister for International Development Cooperation, Peter Eriksson.
This funding is channelled through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) and through Sida’s Strategy for SRHR in sub-Saharan Africa. GFATM is the largest single financier of global health, with major investments and success in the area of SRHR. The organisation provides support to LGBTQI rights advocates, among others, and contributes to health services that have an important impact on women’s and children’s health.