At the beginning of this year, the world was taken by surprise by Covid-19. Everyone had to re-tool their strategies and rethink their plans to cope with the new normal presented by the situation. As everyone locked down and a new normal descended upon the people, does family planning need to adjust to the new normal?
In any case, reproductive health is important. You cannot just go to any specialist if you need an abortion. It should be a licensed abortion professional. You cannot also just pick any reproductive health clinic; it needs to be a hospital. During the pandemic, it’s particularly tricky to find a hospital since most of them are inundated with patients.
Here’s a look into how family planning should happen under the new normal, for people planning to have families post-Covid-19.
It Needs to Continue
In the paper, according to CCP’s Joanna Skinner, a long-term crisis is in the making if people plan to overlook family planning just because of the pandemic. It’s important for the sexual and reproductive health of both partners, but particularly, it’s for the women. The specialist described the process as a ‘lifesaving intervention’ that doesn’t need to take a backseat to safety protocols. It should be adjusted to continue to protect women.
It Should Adjust to the Pandemic
The pandemic requires people to adjust to the norms of society currently. That includes maintaining best practices like physical distancing and keeping generally to one’s self. Practitioners should devise new ways to work under the new normal, while still reaching the people they need to look after — people who are starting families. While they need to adjust to social distancing guidelines, other practices under family planning should continue.
Counseling Services Should Turn Digital
Everything has turned digital since people cannot appear in person in hospitals or meet-up with health professionals in the medical sector for some time. Even work has turned digital; the same should happen with counseling services related to family planning and sexual health. There are some places where services like this have since been digitized.
Patients and clients are directed to a web-based meeting room where they are advised based on what they are consulting for. Even pharmacies dispensing drugs related to family planning have also decided to go online to reach their clientele safely.
Digital Services Should Also Be Improved
Even in today’s digital world, there are places where family planning services have remained in a face-to-face set up. This will not work under the pandemic, where social interaction is advised to be kept to a minimum.
There are different digital tools that family planning clinics could use. These will help improve the efficiency and timeliness of their services as well as improve the over-all help that they could offer their patients. While there are clinics that have remained largely traditional, there are other clinics (that are newer) who have already decided to go digital, even before the pandemic.
Face-to-face Interaction Using Digital Services
The popularity of face chat services has since boomed during the quarantine. This can play a huge role in consultations in family planning. A huge chunk of family planning services is largely consultations, especially when the clients or patients are unwed mothers or single parents. Managing to speak to their doctors online through these apps is a huge thing, especially if they prefer to maintain a semblance of normalcy in their interactions.
Like many services, it may be time for family planning clinics and hospitals offering these services to go digital. Family planning is tied with the health and well-being of women and it is basically their right as well. Family planning services should adjust to the new normal like many industries have already done.