Global impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on sexual and reproductive health services: An international comparative study on primary care from the INTRePID Consortium.

Peng K, Tu K, Li Z, Hallinan CM, Laughlin A, Manski-Nankervis J, Apajee J, Lapadula MC, Ortigoza A, Da Roza CC, Baste V, Flottorp S, Wensaas K, Goh LH, Ling ZJ, Kristiansson R, Gaona G, Pace WD, Westfall JM, Ng APP, Wong WC

BJOG - (-) - [2023-11-07; online 2023-11-07]

To understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted sexual and reproductive health (SRH) visits. An ecological study comparing SRH services volume in different countries before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seven countries from the INTernational ConsoRtium of Primary Care BIg Data Researchers (INTRePID) across four continents. Over 3.8 million SRH visits to primary care physicians in Australia, China, Canada, Norway, Singapore, Sweden and the USA. Difference in average SRH monthly visits before and during the pandemic, with negative binomial regression modelling to compare predicted and observed number of visits during the pandemic for SRH visits. Monthly number of visits to primary care physicians from 2018 to 2021. During the pandemic, the average volume of monthly SRH visits increased in Canada (15.6%, 99% CI 8.1-23.0%) where virtual care was pronounced. China, Singapore, Sweden and the USA experienced a decline (-56.5%, 99% CI -74.5 to -38.5%; -22.7%, 99% CI -38.8 to -6.5%; -19.4%, 99% CI -28.3 to -10.6%; and -22.7%, 99% CI -38.8 to -6.5%, respectively); while Australia and Norway showed insignificant changes (6.5%, 99% CI -0.7 to -13.8% and 1.7%, 99% CI -6.4 to -9.8%). The countries that maintained (Australia, Norway) or surpassed (Canada) pre-pandemic visit rates had the greatest use of virtual care. In-person SRH visits to primary care decreased during the pandemic. Virtual care seemed to counterbalance that decline. Although cervical cancer screening appeared insensitive to virtual care, strategies such as incorporating self-collected samples for HPV testing may provide a solution in a future pandemic.

Category: Health

Type: Journal article

PubMed 37935645

DOI 10.1111/1471-0528.17704

Crossref 10.1111/1471-0528.17704

Publications 9.5.0