Centre for Social Concern and Development (CESOCODE) called on the Government and Pharmacists to improve women’s access to health using Technologies in Malawi

Cross section of participants who attended the May 28 meeting.

May 28th is the International Day of Action for Women’s Health. Women’s rights advocates and allies in the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) movement worldwide have commemorated in diverse ways. MAMA Member selected this year’s theme as “Using technology to improve women’s access to health”

CESOCODE commemorated the day by organizing an offline meeting to call the government through the Ministry of health and the Pharmacists to facilitate access to telemedicine and to Work together with feminist organizations and hotlines to provide the correct information to those seeking abortion, free of judgment and stigma.

For the part of the government, we discussed that the government has a role to make sure that the sharing of information about Abortion and Self-Managed Abortions has been decriminalized, it facilitating access to abortion pills and allowing pregnant people, who wish to abort on the first trimester abortions to be able to access Self-Managed Abortion outside Health facilities.

During the meeting we also discussed that, to maximizing the potential for medical abortion to improve access to safe abortion and reduce use of unsafe methods, the pharmacies need to be supported to ensure that high quality products are available, and women have access to client-cantered information about how to use these products safely. Feminist organizations can support pharmacies to increase access and improve quality through:

  • Training pharmacy workers to deliver accurate information and support
  • Ensuring contact details are included on the packaging for follow-up care, in case unexpected side effects arise
  • Providing 24 hour hotlines to share tailored information about MA self-management and follow-up care
  • Including pictorial instructions in product packaging, for clients with language and literacy barriers.

We discussed that feminist organizations have a role to ensure that women are accessing safe abortion information without relying on pharmacy staff only. For example, safe abortion hotlines are commonly used to ensure that individuals can access counselling and information about self-management of medical abortion. Hotlines can offer confidential and personalized counselling, and including an advice online on the packaging of medical abortion products can help facilitate access to those who need it. Hotlines also offer information about how to use the pills in a freely accessible way. This means that using technology to improve women’s access to health is important.