Resilient WOmen, Resilient Communities: Our COVID-19 Response Learn more on how to support women and girls

Pathfinder’s response to the global pandemic is uniquely designed to interrupt the spread of COVID-19, maintain essential sexual and reproductive health services and protect women and girls who are more likely to experience trauma, hardship, illness or disruption because of the crisis. We aim to build stronger communities and health systems, centered on mobilizing the agency of women and girls, to support their short and longer-term resiliency in the face of economic shocks.

As a global health organization experienced in serving vulnerable women and girls and strengthening health systems during times of emergency and instability, we are ensuring that their exposure to COVID-19 and crisis-associated risks such as gender-based violence is mitigated. Further, it is critical that they have uninterrupted access to contraception, maternal care, HIV treatment, and other vital services. To meet this huge need, additional resources are urgently required. Your contribution will support the immediate response and launch initiatives that will ensure sustainable outcomes for the world’s most vulnerable communities.

The impact of COVID-19 has already put unprecedented pressure on developed nations such as the United States, Spain and Italy, where well-resourced health systems and supply chains are struggling to cope. Recent modelling is already showing that the impact in countries with resource-limited health systems will be significantly greater.

Alongside the considerable strain applied upon the overall system, the COVID‐19 outbreak will reduce many of the key resources available for sexual and reproductive health services, as resources are diverted to combat the outbreak. As the Guttmacher Institute adds, the impact of this pandemic may go unrecognized because the effects are “the indirect consequence of strained health care systems, disruptions in care and redirected resources.”

Beyond the devastating impact on global health, gender inequality comes into even starker focus in the context of health emergencies. Evidence from previous global pandemics shows these reductions will disproportionately harm women and girls by contributing to a rise in maternal and newborn mortality and increasing the unmet need for contraception and the number of unsafe abortions. Women and girls will be further affected by this outbreak by being in proximity to and caring for those who become ill, by losing their livelihood, by becoming victims of increases in gender-based violence that may occur during uncertain times and by their lack of access to sexual and reproductive health care.

Where we work

Pathfinder International currently works in 17 countries empowering comunitties through reproductive and sexual health care. These countries include;

  • Bangladesh
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • India
  • Kenya
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Uganda

Pathfinder's Response

COVID-19 is now present in every country where we operate. Pathfinder is working to understand each country’s unique circumstances, and our teams are adapting our efforts accordingly to support their national response efforts. Our immediate priority is to build resilience for vulnerable women and girls and their health systems:

In Pakistan, our team is bolstering supply chains and using digital communication channels to reach more than 180,000 women and girls with sexual and reproductive health commodities and vital information about COVID-19.

In Kenya, our team is extending access to anti-retroviral treatment and providing handwashing and sanitation supplies to more than 177,000 people living with HIV to reduce their vulnerability to the virus.

In India, our team is working to resume family planning services, which are currently on hold and therefore not available for 76,000 women and girls across 4 states.

As an organization, we believe that all response plans should consider the longer-term consequences of this pandemic and lay the groundwork for stronger health systems, include strategic planning capacity at all levels from community to government and a clear role for women and girls as leaders and advocates of their own lives.

Given our deep and longstanding engagement on the ground with local governments and communities, our COVID-19 Response will adjust continuously to meet rapidly evolving situations and partner in bolstering both immediate and long-term needs to strengthen health systems:

To interrupt the spread of COVID-19 within the health system, we will support the personal protection of health workers, train them in infection prevention and control, and meet critical and emerging gaps such as emergency transportation.

To interrupt the spread of COVID-19 in the community, we will implement health communications campaigns, especially targeted at women and girls, that increase their awareness and knowledge of COVID-19 and promote the adoption of behaviors that prevent further spread of the virus and keep them healthy and safe.

To maintain essential sexual and reproductive health services, we will provide technical assistance in the delivery of essential SRH services, while advocating with donors and governments for their continuance throughout the pandemic.

To build stronger and more resilient health systems and communities, we will work alongside local leaders and organizations to meet the broader social, mental and economic support needs of women and girls.

We will support the personal protection of health workers, train them in infection prevention and control, and meet critical and emerging gaps such as emergency transportation.