● The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Latin America and the Caribbean at a time of low growth, marked inequality and vulnerability, growing poverty, weakening of social cohesion and increasing expressions of social discontent.
● Cases of COVID-19 continue to increase in the region and are currently at or near the highest levels observed since the start of the pandemic.
● Most countries in the region have weak and fragmented health systems, which do not guarantee the universal access to health care needed to address the COVID-19 crisis.
● The impact is high on the frontline health workers, who often lack sufficient PPE.
● The crisis is also having a considerable impact on women’s access to health care and, in particular, to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services.
Lockdown measures enforced in countries have also led to a sharp increase in gender-based violence (GBV).
● Contraceptives are expected to suffer shortages or stockouts by the end of this year.
● The pandemic is also showing increased incidence among vulnerable populations, particularly indigenous people, afro-descendants, prisoners, migrants, and LGBTI people.
● Urgent funding is needed to meet these rising needs.