UN: SA’s ban on sale of alcohol during lockdown contributed to low GBV stats

Micheal Ebele of the UN Population Fund has told Eyewitness News that neighbouring countries can learn from South Africa in this regard.

Picture: Freeimages.com

DURBAN - The United Nations said South Africa’s ban on the sale of alcohol during the COVID-19 national lockdown has contributed to reducing the scourge of gender-based violence.

Micheal Ebele of the UN Population Fund told Eyewitness News that neighbouring countries could learn from South Africa in this regard.

He did, however, warn against becoming complacent on gender issues, including sexual and reproductive health, as recent data showed that the pandemic was deepening inequalities and placed many women at risk.

The UN Population Fund estimates that 47 million women in 114 low- and middle-income countries may not be able to access contraceptives if the lockdown stayed in place for six months.

The agency said this could lead to 7 million unintended pregnancies, especially where there were major disruptions to health services.

Ebele said the southern and east African regions were at high risk and called on leaders to ensure proper health services continue.

“Based on experiences from previous outbreaks, like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and Congo, we saw that many more people lost their lives because health services were not easily accessible because of the pandemic. If we don’t address the factors that inhibit access to healthcare, it could play out again during the COVID-19 era.”

The agency has also called on governments to ensure safety for women wanting to access family planning services during the lockdown period.

_For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here. _