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How Lockdown Affected Family Planning across Africa

The Performance Monitoring for Action study conducts annual surveys on women’s reproductive health needs across sub-Saharan Africa. These surveys are generally done face-to-face by trained interviewers. But due to COVID-19 mitigation measures, normal procedures were not possible. Researchers conducted a phone-based survey from May to June 2020. The survey included questions specific to COVID-19 knowledge and reproductive health behaviours since COVID-19 restrictions. Their analyses included 7,245 women who were married or living with a partner in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and Nigeria. Lagos was the only setting where women’s need for contraception rose. It increased by 5% between pre-COVID-19 and the survey following the onset of the pandemic. Increases in contraceptive need were not observed in other settings. Contrary to our expectations, we found that overall contraceptive use among women in need of contraception increased in most settings. This increase was significant in rural Burkina Faso and in Kenya.