These recommendations, comprising one page and listing a wide range of essential health care services, were published by the Ministry of Health of Tunisia on 24 April 2020, co-signed by the WHO and UNFPA Tunisian country offices. The list includes “access to contraception, including emergency contraception, and abortion, including medical abortion”. It was developed in response to the petition “Urgent Call to the Public Authorities to Ensure the Continuity of Access to Services for Sexual and Reproductive Health”, initiated by the Groupe Tawhida Ben Cheikh in early April and signed by more than 50 local and international NGOs and 70 well-known individuals from civil society in the country.
“This publication and the support of the WHO and UNFPA country offices is excellent news,” Selma Hajri, the head of Groupe Tawhida, reports: “We made a huge effort to inform and encourage the Tunisian government to do this… To my knowledge, this is the first guidance on this subject in the MENA region and the first time in 20 years that the government has mentioned medical abortion.”
SOURCES: General Recommendations on the Continuity of Essential Care during the Covid-19 Period(in Arabic and French), 24 April 2020 ; Espace Manager, Appel Urgent pour assurer la continuité de l’accès aux services de la santé sexuelle et de la reproduction, 9 April 2020 ; Groupe Tawhida Ben Cheikh on Facebook, 27 April 2020 ; E-mails from Selma Hajri, 27-28 April 2020