UNFPA Tunisia CO SRH response to COVID19 outbreak


Distribution of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment ) © UNFPA Tunisia.

At an early stage of the COVID19 outbreak, UNFPA Tunisia CO established an SRH (Sexual and Reproductive Health) taskforce, to ensure the continuity of essential SRH services during the outbreak, to avoid indirect deaths and complications related to disrupted services, in particular preventable maternal deaths.

The task force, ultimately served as a nucleus to develop a whole sub-national coordination structure to enhance continuity of essential services, including for other lifesaving health services.

Activities conducted:

  • Establishment of central coordination body involving Primary Health Care Directorate, the National Office of Family and Population Affairs (ONFP), Tunisian Gynecological & Obstetrical Society, Tunisian society of Pediatrics’, representative from university hospitals, PHCCs (Primary Health Care Centers), civil society organizations and the private sector;
  • Agreement on the list of essential SRH services to be maintained
  • Identification of factors impeding access to SRH services and new barriers imposed by the outbreak and the government measures.
  • Development of operational plan and activation of sub-national coordination bodies, empowering district-level health authorities. The proposed structure, is currently also working on ensuring continuity of care for NCDs, EPI, besides SRH.

SRH coordination mechanism, led by UNFPA, directly contributed to the impressively quick development of subnational coordination mechanism for all essential services:

  • In April 24th, 2020 a ministerial circular called for the re-establishment of all essential services, including SRH services in all the country and at all levels of care.
  • A joint communication strategy involving MoH (Ministry of Health) and UN agencies was developed to raise awareness among general population on the importance of continuity of essential health services :
  • Most of the facilities at primary health care level resumed their activities, after needs on PPE (Personnel Protective Equipment) were covered by different partners; UNFPA provided PPE to the National Office of Family and Population Affairs (ONFP) and to the Primary Health Care Directorate
  • Trainings needs among midwives were identified and online sessions were provided in collaboration with national board of gynecology and obstetrics, a training manual was also developed and distributed to midwives and medical students.