COVID and SRHR project

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Young Women in all their Diversities under the COVID-19 Epidemic in South Africa (COVID and SRHR project)

Young women in KwaZulu-Natal are extremely vulnerable to adverse sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) outcomes and need to access SRHR services and commodities. Young women with disabilities are even more vulnerable to adverse SRHR outcomes than their peers and lack access to SRHR services and commodities. The recent worldwide coronavirus pandemic and accompanying countrywide lockdown are likely to affect the lives of young women with disabilities. Their access to SRHR is likely to be further reduced due to additional barriers to accessing SRHR services and commodities, and they may face increased risks of abuse/violence.

The project aims to understand the impact of the local coronavirus epidemic on young women, with and without disabilities, and their need for and access to SRHR commodities and services. This information will be gained through a longitudinal sub-study following a cohort of young women with and without disabilities over time (age 18-25). The project applies a mixed-method approach collecting qualitative, quantitative, and photovoice data about the period before the lockdown and different lockdown periods.  The collected data will provide information on the participants’ current living conditions, COVID-19 experiences, SRHR needs, access to services and commodities, and exposure to violence (including intimate partner violence).

Sub-study 1: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Young Women under the COVID-19 Epidemic
This sub-study follows a cohort of young women who previously participated in our study to understand PrEP use among women in KwaZulu-Natal (insert link to PrEP study). The SAMRC funds this sub-study. The sub-study commenced on the 1st of June 2020, and data collection is currently underway.
Sub-study 2: Forgotten Agenda: Including Women with Disabilities and their SRHR needs under the COVID Epidemic in South Africa

The sub-study follows a new cohort of women with different disabilities in the same catchment area as sub-study 1. The study is funded by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in the UK. The study will assess the need for and access to SRHR services, trends over time, arising needs and gaps in service delivery, and individual women’s experiences through case studies. The overall project also includes advocacy and awareness-raising efforts and will be supported by an advisory committee. With this committee and other key stakeholders, we will conduct three webinars that will support the situation analysis, awareness-raising during World Disability day, and dissemination of results. The sub-project commenced on the 1st of February 2021.

Forgotten Agenda Webinar One: Including Young Women with Disabilities and their SRHR needs under the COVID Epidemic in South Africa: What do we know and where are the Gaps?

Forgotten Agenda Webinar Two: People with Disabilities, Research Ethics and Processes under the COVID-19 Pandemic: How do we conduct inclusive disability research during times of crisis?

Forgotten Agenda Webinar Three: What we know about People with Disabilities under the COVID-19 Pandemic in South Africa: How can we improve our response in times of crisis?

 

News, Publications, and Events

Events

  • The SAMRC released its first Forgotten Agenda Webinar focusing on: Including Young Women with Disabilities and their SRHR needs under the COVID Epidemic in South Africa: What do we know and where are the Gaps?
  • The SAMRC released its second Forgotten Agenda Webinar focusing on: People with Disabilities, Research Ethics and Processes under the COVID-19 Pandemic: How do we conduct inclusive disability research during times of crisis?
  • The SAMRC released its third Forgotten Agenda Webinar focusing on: What we know about People with Disabilities under the COVID-19 Pandemic in South Africa: How can we improve our response in times of crisis?

Discussion | Rights of women with disabilities - Jill Hanass-Hancock from the council's Gender and Health Research Unit speaks to #eNCA

 

COVID-19 Good Practice Examples and Tools

ARRC: Her Voice Study and Information Flyers for Young Women with Disabilities

LSHTM: Six Country Study on Disability and COVID-19

IDS: Five Country Study on Disability and COVID-19

SAMRC: Breaking the Silence – Comprehensive Sexuality Education for Learners with Disabilities


Supported by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the Covid Collective is based at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS). The Collective brings together the expertise of, UK and Southern based research partner organisations and offers a rapid social science research response to inform decision-making on some of the most pressing Covid-19 related development challenges.  

Contact details
For further information on the project please contact:
Prof. Dr Jill Hanass-Hancock (Senior Specialist Scientist at Gender and Health Research Unit) at Jill.hanasshancock@mrc.ac.za
or
Bradley Carpenter (Project coordinator and Scientist at Gender and Health Research Unit) at Bradley.Carpenter@mrc.ac.za
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