In this chapter we explore the health challenge that the onset of COVID-19 has presented to regional organizations. The pandemic has tested the capacities of regional bodies to coordinate responses to a crisis which, in most cases, has affected every member state in the region simultaneously. We show that early in the pandemic, there was an overwhelming recognition across regions that the pandemic was not only bringing a health challenge, but it would also represent an unprecedented socio-economic challenge, with costs distributed unevenly across societies and with a significant differential impact on the lives of men and women. These centred principally around the high levels of women who work in the informal sector without social security protections, increases in care burdens, increases in gender-based violence, reduced access to sexual reproductive health services and increased barriers to girls’ education. We explore to what extent these organizations have been able to effectively articulate their concerns on gender and health and bring their perspectives to bear on policy-making at the national level.
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