June 2020. In the past few months, during the lockdown due to COVID-19, there has been uncertainty about access to abortion, STI testing and emergency contraception (EC). In Switzerland, SANTÉ SEXUELLE SUISSE (the umbrella organization of sexual health centres) called upon its members to continue providing sexual and reproductive health counselling and services during the pandemic. Furthermore, some sexual health centres developed creative approaches to ensure vulnerable populations access during these times.
In the canton of Vaud, Fondation PROFA launched a collaboration with local pharmacies, in order to make sure that EC remained available for women under the age of 20 at a reduced and affordable price in some pharmacies of the region.
According to the project leader, Dr. Catherine Gruillot, this has been an effective approach: «We have had some feedback already and it’s going well. Pharmacies dispense EC within the framework we have set together and we provide clients with a list of pharmacies. Women receive information and counselling by telephone from either a sexual health counsellor or a doctor and she is informed of where to obtain her oral EC. She is offered a follow up appointment at our clinic. This system appears to be working after just a few days of implementation!»