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    COVID Crisis Has Worsened Gender Inequality in Access to Moroccan Healthcare

    Many reports have emphasized the need for more investments to address the persistent challenges facing Morocco’s fragile health sector.

    12 Jul 2022

    Rabat - The COVID-19 health crisis continues to affect the already fragile access to Moroccan healthcare, particularly for women, the Moroccan High Commission for Planning (HCP) said in a report on Sunday.

    Published to mark the World Population Day, annually celebrated on July 11, the report found that the health crisis is disrupting access to healthcare for women in different aspects, including maternal, reproductive, and child health.

    “The [COVID-19] lockdown has had a major impact on women's access to health services and is likely to affect them for many years to come,” the report said.

    The HCP report also found that efforts focused on reducing the spread of the pandemic continue to have impacts on key services such as access to reproductive healthcare.

    27.3% of women did not have access to maternal health care, while 20.8% could not have access to reproductive health services in the past few months, the report documented, adding that lack of access to maternal health services is higher in rural areas at 32.4%, against 22.6% in urban areas.

    The fear of having COVID-19 in health facilities also contributes to preventing some women from accessing health services (27.8%), followed by lack of finances (20.8%).

    The health crisis linked to the pandemic is also affecting children on an unprecedented scale, HCP argued, suggesting that this could have impacts on the progress Morocco has made in curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, particularly in terms of vaccination.

    Of all the children under the age of 5 who required a vaccination service during the confinement period, nearly 11.7% were unable to have it.

    Meanwhile, the Moroccan health sector continues to suffer from different challenges and deficiencies.

    In April, Morocco’s National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) released a report calling for better governance of the national healthcare sector.

    Health care must be dealt with as an “investment for the nation’s security and prosperity,” the council found, recalling the acute challenges of staff shortage and equipment inadequacy facing hospitals in Morocco

    Moroccan public health facilities are suffering from a severe personnel shortage, with only 32,000 doctors and 65,000 nurses operating across Morocco, CNDH said in another report, concluding that the North African country needs at least an additional 65,000 health professionals.

    “Despite the efforts made, [Morocco] is still not in a position to guarantee health security to citizens, in all its economic, social, environmental and cultural dimensions, whether in terms of access to health services or development of a health strategy that responds to national needs,” CNDH said.
    Another key challenge is budget inadequacy, noted the report, estimating that Morocco’s budget for public health needs at least an additional $604 million to address structural and personnel deficiencies at Moroccan hospitals.


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