As measles, coronavirus and Ebola hit the Democratic Republic of Congo, women face stigma and delayed sexual health treatment
As the world races to stem the coronavirus, Democratic Republic of Congo is racing to also stop the spread of measles and a new outbreak of Ebola, leaving women delaying reproductive health needs, aid groups warned.
Congo is also facing armed conflict, bringing with it sexual violence against women who, as caregivers, are often on the frontlines of caring for the sick and at higher risk of falling ill and also often blamed for spreading these viruses.
"The additional pressure to tackle these outbreaks will add a burden to the already strained health systems and this will impact on the delivery of basic health services, especially for children and women," said Umutoni in emailed comments.
A study by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a humanitarian relief organisation, reported that women were afraid of being accused of having Ebola and therefore delayed or avoided treatment for reproductive health needs or bleeding.
Young women often go to older women with sexual and reproductive health needs, said Umutoni, which is why they need access to information so they can transfer it to others.