The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Latin America and the Caribbean at a time of low growth, marked inequality and vulnerability, growing poverty, weakening of social cohesion and increasing expressions of social discontent.
Cases of COVID-19 continue to increase in the region and are currently at or near the highest levels observed since the start of the pandemic.
Most countries in the region have weak and fragmented health systems, which do not guarantee the universal access to health care needed to address the COVID-19 crisis.
The impact is high on the frontline health workers, who often lack sufficient PPE.
The crisis is also having a considerable impact on women’s access to health care and, in particular, to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. Lockdown measures enforced in countries have also led to a sharp increase in gender-based violence (GBV).
Contraceptives are expected to suffer shortages or stockouts by the end of this year.
The pandemic is also showing increased incidence among vulnerable populations, particularly indigenous people, afro-descendants, prisoners, migrants, and LGBTI people.
Urgent funding is needed to meet these rising needs.