The outbreak of the Zika virus and its link with birth defects highlight the need for full access to reproductive health services for all women, say obstetricians and gynecologists in Canada, the U.S. and Latin America. The Zika virus is transmitted by mosquito and through sexual contact with an infected person.
The World Health Organization declared the outbreak of Zika to be a global emergency and many women who contracted the virus in pregnancy gave birth to babies with small heads and abnormal brains.
Health officials in affected areas are warning women to delay pregnancy until the outbreak is controlled. The obstetrician-gynecologist groups say they “have long recognized the value of birth control to a woman’s health and well-being.”
Contraception and pre-natal care needed
Now they ask for governments, donors and health care providers to immediately ensure that all women have access to affordable effective contraception, that all pregnant women have access to prenatal care and counselling, and that the risk of mosquito born disease be reduced.
Signatories are The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and The Federation of Latin American Societies of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.