The COVID reality disrupted the functioning of multiple sectors, causing deep fissures and it made it imperative to address the issue of family planning with a new and informed lens. Our insights and collective understanding from almost two years of work in Couple Engage unfolded many nuances in the realm of family planning, in an evidence informed manner. Considering this, it was pertinent to apply a COVID lens to the current and upcoming project activities and form an in-depth understanding of the shifts it has presented to deliberate on the changes that this pandemic has presented in the domain of sexual and reproductive health.
During June and July 2020, we undertook a rapid remote qualitative study to assess the effect of COVID-19 on family planning demand and choices, and its implications on engagement of young men and couples in family planning. More specifically, the research answered the following questions:
How has COVID-19 influenced couples’ contraceptive choices? What does it mean for young men and couples and developing solutions for them?
What are some considerations from communities that have a bearing on the family planning choices of young men and women in the context of COVID-19?
How has COVID-19 shaped the use of technology in the health space, especially in family planning service delivery, demand generation and access?
This study was conducted in two out of five previously selected districts, one each in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The team used a telephonic qualitative research method for this study. The study team identified members of the local governance system, representatives of civil society organizations, members of women’s collectives, frontline workers (Accredited Social Health Activists [ASHAs], Auxiliary Nursing Midwifery [ANMs] and Anganwadi Workers [AWWs]), youth leaders, pharmacists and informal health providers for telephonic key informant interviews.