Access to safe abortion in rural areas amidst COVID-19

VIAC and R2G are both MAMA member organizations advocating for access to safe abortion information and for access to safe abortion services in rural communities. The COVID19 pandemic has exposed many barriers for women in accessing safe abortion, especially women in rural areas. Lack of access to information and the lack of access to services has negatively impacted rural communities.

Availability and distribution of abortion care facilities can influence women’s access services, especially in rural areas. Existing community stigma makes it difficult for women to access services or to seek safe abortion information.

“In the rural areas, the health centers closer to women do not offer abortion services and the providers working in the centers are neighbors to the women in the community. This makes it hard for women and girls to approach them for support even if it’s safe referral support. There is that fear”. Says a representative from R2G

In Cameroon, those who seek abortion services in rural areas don’t know their rights to abortion. VIAC runs a reproductive health hotline where women can call to get information and counseling on self-managed abortion with pills. To reduce maternal mortality, grassroots organizations need to empower women to know their rights by making information and services accessible in their vicinities.

“The advocacy for abortion services in rural communities is very insignificant. There is a need to strengthen community-based organization alliance for more of better advocacy programs” Says a representative from VIAC.

To strengthen grassroots efforts, the Mama network is providing support to organizations working or at the frontline in community advocacy on access to abortion information and self-managed abortion information.

For access to safe aboriton information and access to services, reac out to any of the MAMA hotlines in the region: