Our Response to COVID-19

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic poses a potentially enormous setback for the health of women, children and adolescents and it could reverse decades of progress in the poorest countries. The GFF is committed to doing its part to help countries protect essential lifesaving services as part of an effective COVID-19 response and recovery. Read more about the actions we are taking.

Protecting Essential Services for Women, Children, and Adolescents  

As the COVID-19 pandemic escalates in low- and lower-middle income countries, there is a growing risk of widespread disruptions in access to reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition services. 

New findings confirm global disruptions in essential health services for women and children from COVID-19. Substantial disruptions have been seen in outpatient visits and vaccinations for young children in most countries. Disruptions in care for pregnant women and new mothers, and safe deliveries by skilled health workers were also seen in several countries.

The GFF Response

The GFF has a unique role to play in helping ensure that safe and equitable delivery of essential health and nutrition services for women, children and adolescents is a central part of an effective global COVID-19 response and recovery. 

The GFF is supporting its 36 low and lower-middle-income partner countries to use this data to drive policy decisions and targeted strategies during their response to the pandemic to protect and promote the delivery of essential health and nutrition services for vulnerable  women, children and adolescents. 

For example:

  • In partnership with the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the GFF is providing additional grant financing and technical assistance for its partner countries to prioritize and plan for continuation services, strengthen frontline service delivery, address constraints in supply of personal protective equipment and other essential health commodities as well as in demand for sexual and reproductive health and other lifesaving services.
  • The GFF has mobilized a learning exchange program for countries to share lessons in real-time and learn from each other. Through this program some countries have introduced measures to continue to provide services while maintaining social distancing, others enhanced the use of mobile technology to facilitate telemedicine, and others reflected on how to better use and integrate Community Health Workers to strengthen continuity of services.

PRESS RELEASE: New findings confirm global disruptions in essential health services for women and children from COVID-19


The GFF recently partnered with the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition and Avenir Health to develop a tool for policymakers to understand how COVID-19 and mitigation measures are likely to affect access to family planning. Using this tool, the GFF can estimate that, without mitigation, as many as 26 million women could lose access to contraception in the 36 GFF countries, leading to nearly 8 million unintended pregnancies.

The GFF has launched a series of dedicated COVID-19 webinars  to ensure continuous and needs-driven knowledge sharing and learning among GFF-supported countries and global partners. 

In addition, the GFF developed country briefs to provide data and guidance for policy makers and practitioners on preserving essential health care services in a time of crisis to help sustain progress achieved over recent years.


Brief: Emerging Findings and Policy Recommendations on COVID-19

Brief: The GFF’s Response to COVID-19

Guidance Note: The Role of Country Platforms in Maintaining Essential Services and Delivering on the Investment Case in the time of COVID-19 | FRES | POR

Country Briefs: Preserve Essential Health Services during the Covid-19 Pandemic



Press Release: New findings confirm global disruptions in essential health services for women and children from COVID-19

Telegraph: Covid-19 has already killed 500,000, but a larger health catastrophe looms for women and children

World Bank Blog: The risks of a secondary health crisis for women and children: 3 things to know

Reuters: Women, babies at risk as COVID-19 disrupts health services, World Bank warns

Bloomberg: Virus Care Disruptions Raise Infant Death Risk in Poor Nations

The Telegraph: More than one million more women and children globally could die as pandemic diverts health services 

La Province: Coronavirus: risque d’une «crise sanitaire secondaire»

World Bank Blog: COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the future of health financing: from resilience to sustainability

Press Release: Netherlands Announces Additional Support for the GFF to Continue Essential Health Services in COVID-19 Response

Press Release: The GFF’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Call to Action: GFF leaders warn of emerging secondary global health crisis from disruptions in primary health care due to COVID-19


Q&A: Amid COVID-19, how countries are learning from each other in real time

Are we ready to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on family planning and contraceptives?

Countries need all hands on deck to protect nutrition during COVID-19


WHO: Analysing and Using Routine Data to Monitor the Effects of COVID-19 on Essential Health Services: Practical Guide for National and Subnational Decision-Makers

Modeling the impact of COVID-19 mitigation on contraceptive needs

World Bank Group and COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Lancet: Early estimates of the indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal and child mortality in low-income and middle-income countries: a modelling study

Operational Guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO)

Comprehensive list of guidance for maintaining essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic