Telephone terminations: Clinics forced to rethink safe abortions during Covid-19
Women seeking terminations during the hard lockdown were forced to carry out their own abortions, following instructions given by medical practitioners over the telephone.
Reproductive health clinic Marie Stopes says they were made to reconsider how they could continue providing certain time-sensitive services when the country entered lockdown back in March.
We had to think about what other ways we could do the service [termination] and still socially distance.Melusi Dhlamini, Medical officer in obstetrics and gynaecology - Marie Stopes
Melusi Dhlamini is a medical officer at Marie Stopes and explains in his recent Bhekisisa article how women were sent the medication they needed to carry out the termination while being talked through the procedure by a medical practitioner over the phone.
Prior to the pandemic, Marie Stopes was carrying out close to 2 000 terminations each month across South Africa, but the number fell drastically during lockdown.
Dhalmini says reproductive health services were hit particularly hard by the coronavirus crisis.
When the lockdown started, most of our reproductive health centres were actually shut down and the staff were shunted to other public health facilities.Melusi Dhlamini, Medical officer in obstetrics and gynaecology - Marie Stopes
Listen to the full conversation below:
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