COVID-19 and Women and Girls’ Health in Low and Middle-Income Countries: An Updated Review of the Evidence

In an updated review of how the COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting women’s and girls’ health in low- and middle-income contexts, we examine 247 studies between January and March 2021 (peer-reviewed papers, pre-prints, and working papers that met specific search terms, and contained empirical analyses and findings). This collection of evidence largely reinforces previous findings that in many areas, women are bearing the greatest burdens of the crisis. Evidence continues to mount that there has been disruption of access to and utilization of maternal health services and contraceptive services, disproportionately worse mental health for women versus men, as well as worsened mental health for pregnant women during the pandemic. This review also identifies new research indicating mixed evidence on COVID-19-related knowledge and behaviors and COVID-19 morbidity and mortality by gender. Gaps remain on several health issues (e.g., non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases other than HIV). Existing research also focuses primarily on describing and quantifying the burden of these gendered health impacts, rather than sharing effective mitigation strategies.

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