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Barriers to accessing post-pregnancy contraception in Brazil: The impact of COVID-19.

The aim of our article is to discuss barriers associated with post-pregnancy contraception in Brazil during the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic. Socioeconomic differences in gaining access to long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods became greater during the COVID-19 pandemic. The inadequate distribution of existing resources and the reduced capacity for elective care meant that healthcare providers in family planning had to be reallocated to respond to COVID-19 emergencies. In Brazil, 74% of the population depends on the national health service (Sistema Unico de Saúde) including for the provision of free contraception. However, the only LARC method available at the public service is the copper-intrauterine device (IUD); implants and hormonal-IUDs are not available, except at some teaching hospitals. Contraceptive sales remained unmodified during the pandemic, which shows that the majority of the population used less effective or no contraceptive methods during this time. However, sales of implants and the hormonal-IUD increased significantly, indicating the inequity of the low-income portion of the society as only the wealthy can afford these. On the other hand, there was an increase in sales of emergency contraception. The uptake of postpartum IUDs and contraceptive implants at the selected teaching hospitals in which they were available was high during the COVID-19 pandemic as they were the only methods immediately available. In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic increased both inequality and social differences in gaining access to contraceptives. Postpartum and immediate post abortion methods were also good strategies during the pandemic and were well accepted by the population. However, they were not offered by most services.

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