#HerHero campaign calls for women to prioritise family and health despite COVID-19

09:51 | 26/09/2020
Women influencers and representatives from key organisations in the Asia-Pacific came together in September 25 at the #HerHero Virtual Forum on Health, Empowerment and Progress and jointly pledged their commitment to be "HerHeroe", those who support and empower women in their communities to help them make informed choices.

Bayer, a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of healthcare and nutrition, launched the #HerHero campaign to support women in taking action to prioritise their health and take charge of their lives.

Healthcare professionals, policymakers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and women influencers in the Asia-Pacific rallied to call for women to prioritise their health and family planning needs, even during the pandemic.

herhero campaign calls for women to prioritise family and health despite covid 19
Virtual #HerHero Forum calls for Women to Prioritize Family Planning and Their Health despite COVID-19"

They also called for wider public support to join in the pledge and give voice to women’s health needs and empowerment.

Despite the progress made in empowering women’s lives over the last 60 years, barriers still exist today, made worse by the current pandemic.

Many women worldwide are losing access to health and family planning services due to COVID-19 restrictions and are putting off face-to-face medical consultations for seeking professional advice due to fear of contracting the virus. The UN projects that more than 47 million women could lose access to contraception, leading to 7 million unplanned pregnancies in the coming months. These have lifelong health and socioeconomic impact on women and their families.

“As the world responds to the COVID-19 crisis, women’s reproductive health and rights must be carefully safeguarded. We must continue to collaborate, innovate, and work to ensure women have access to modern contraception and resources that enable them to make informed decisions about their futures,” said Ashish Bajracharya, deputy director, country Strategy & Regional Representative, South and East Asia, Population Council.

Women’s health and family planning topics are not openly discussed in Asia, and women can find it hard to make informed decisions.

The #HerHero campaign celebrates the everyday heroes – such as family, friends, pharmacists, and doctors – who support women with a safe space to talk about such topics, and calls for the wider public to commit to also being "HerHero" to the women in their networks.

Amid the pandemic, digital platforms offer a new way for women to reach out to their heroes.

Telemedicine is fast-becoming a safe and convenient option for seeking medical consultation on health and family planning matters, especially for individuals with COVID-19 safety concerns. The strong uptake of telemedicine in the Asia-Pacific in the recent months is here to stay, with consumers expecting to make greater use of digital health services in the next five years.

“Our commitment to women’s health drives us to empower women to make informed decisions about their health and family planning, with our innovative contraceptive portfolio and digital health initiatives targeted at improving contraception education,” said Catherine Donovan, head of Medical Affairs, Bayer Pharmaceuticals Division Asia-Pacific.

“Our new #HerHero campaign, which also commemorates 60 years since the invention of the contraceptive pill, underscores our efforts to safeguard and prioritise women’s health and needs, even during the pandemic. By sparking conversations about these issues and celebrating the people that empower women each day, we hope to rally support for women in caring for their health,” Donovan added.

Bayer is constantly innovating to find new ways to engage everyday women in taking control of their lives.

Across the Asia-Pacific, Bayer has been collaborating with governments and organisations to introduce initiatives that promote greater contraception awareness and education.

In Vietnam, Bayer is implementing the Family Planning and Women’s Union (FPWU) and the Government Office of Family Planning (GOPFP).

With the goal of achieving its “Health for all, Hunger for none” vision, Bayer will continue to invest in multi-stakeholder aid programmes, with the ultimate goal of providing 100 million women in low- and middle-income countries with access to modern contraception methods by 2030.

By Bich Ngoc

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