Abidjan Resumes Special FP Days After COVID-19 Lockdown Ends in Côte d’Ivoire

Aug 10, 2020

Contributors: Fatimata Sow and Annette McFarland

After Côte d’Ivoire registered its first case of COVID-19 in March 2020, the national government declared a state of emergency that resulted in postponing all activities involving more than 50 people. These restrictions impacted most of The Challenge Initiative’s (TCI) ongoing activities. But a decline in new positive cases of COVID-19 and an increase in the number of patients who have recovered led the government to lift several restrictive measures on May 21, 2020, thus allowing TCI to resume its suspended activities.

COVID-19 had reduced access to family planning services due to a decline in the availability of services and people’s fear of infection. In Abobo, one of Abidjan’s 10 urban communes, two health districts (East and West) were able to organize special free family planning days in May and June for women of reproductive age with TCI’s support through the Union of Cities and Communes of Côte d’Ivoire (UVICOCI). Each health district organized three special family planning days from May 27-29 and June 3-5 in four health centers: Assomin Community-based Urban Health Centre, Saint Paul Maternity Hospital, Djibi Medical Clinic and Hinneh Urban Health Training.

During the three days, women were provided with free modern contraceptive methods while both clients and providers wore masks and complied with other protective measures such as social distancing. The activity was supervised by the Abobo Town Hall and UVICOCI officials. Community health workers helped manage and control the attendees to ensure social distancing of one meter.

The results were encouraging: 626 users, including 357 new users and 269 previous users, received a modern contraceptive method, such as implants or pills (the most popular methods), IUDs or an injectable. Forty-two percent of clients were adolescents and young women age 15-24, and 58% were women age 25-49.