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Dr Melinda Crane, Chief Political Correspondent of Deutsche Welle, chaired a high-level panel discussion on 26 October 2021 to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young women and girls, particularly their access to health care. As compared with pre-pandemic levels, coverage of life-saving health interventions declined by 25% during 2020.

World Bank representatives, officials from the Global Financing Facility (GFF), Germany and Senegal representatives, civil society and the private sector, investigated opportunities to recoup these losses and build more resilient health systems. Yet, despite the wide range of perspectives, there was an unmistakable consensus on what still needs to be addressed.

As WACI Health’s Executive Director, Dr Rosemary Mburu spoke about the pandemic’s impact on long-standing and deep inequalities that disadvantaged women and girls. Dr Mburu reminded the panel that the pandemic pushed millions of people into poverty, with often dire consequences for the livelihoods of women and particularly girls, as evidenced by the rise in early and forced marriages.

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