Leaving no-one behind in the fight against COVID-19

COVID-19 threatens to reverse years of progress in improving health outcomes for women and girls. Our teams are working with health service providers, civil society organisations and all levels of government to ensure that women and girls’ access to vital services are protected and that no one is left behind in the COVID-19 response.

We are doing this by promoting an inclusive pandemic response and supporting countries to adapt to the situation as it evolves.

Helping governments prepare, plan and respond to COVID-19. We do this by:

  • Providing financing advice on the costing of national vaccine roll-out plans and health funding priorities
  • Procuring and distributing personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Supporting Monitoring and Evaluation departments to manage complex surveillance data, and promote evidence-based planning
  • Making sure health facilities are ready and resourced. We train health workers in infection prevention and control, and help health facilities assess their readiness to respond to the pandemic through our COVID-19 health facility readiness tool
  • Working with governments, partners and the media to develop public health messages that help raise community awareness.

Protecting access to health services, including reproductive health

  • We influence policy and mobilise domestic resources for essential services by turning dense data into accessible and compelling formats so that decision-makers receive information in the right format at the right time.
  • Our country teams provide tailored technical assistance to governments to revise and disseminate national guidelines to protect and make reproductive, maternal, newborn and adolescent health (RMNCAH) services part of their essential health service packages.
  • We work closely with civil society organisations and coalitions to build their capacity to monitor budget processes and use tracking tools to hold governments to account for providing a transparent pandemic response.

Promoting the rights of the vulnerable

  • Our advice on COVID-19 response planning is informed by the unique needs of people with disabilities and mental health conditions. We study and analyse the barriers people with disabilities face in the context of government COVID-19 responses and influence national policies to ensure that pandemic response measures are disability and mental health-aware and inclusive.
  • Maintaining referral pathways for sexual and reproductive health services for adolescent girls is critical during lockdowns. We have intensified training of local implementing partners to use virtual approaches, such as WhatsApp group chats or online peer education sessions and hotlines, to support adolescent girls as they navigate their journey to safe abortion and family planning information and services.
  • We support development organisations to strengthen their safeguarding policies and practices against sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment during COVID-19 and beyond.

Request for funding/partnerships
Experts agree that the world is likely see other pandemics in the coming decades, and that COVID-19 is not a once-in-a-lifetime event. We are developing solutions to help countries prepare for future health emergencies and epidemics by:

  • Using drones to deliver essential medicines to communities in remote and hard-to-reach locations in Nepal where last-mile supply chains have been disrupted by COVID-19
  • Supporting countries’ COVID-19 vaccine roll out by working with health workers, community leaders and civil society to advocate for and address reasons for vaccine hesitancy, and track vaccine roll out progress
  • Engaging communities in disease prevention and response by bringing together health providers and community representatives to anticipate and address current and future outbreaks and build more resilient health systems.

To collaborate or request more information, please contact:


  • In Kenya, we supported three counties to hold virtual, government-led technical working group meetings for the first time since the pandemic started. These have been effective forums to review family planning commodity security.
  • In Ghana, Options is working with partners to assess service delivery gaps from a disability and mental health perspective, develop accessible public health information, and support the media to ensure that its reporting is not stigmatising or discriminatory.
For more information:

Our experts

  • Alison Dembo Rath
    Alison has over 20 years’ experience in design, management, monitoring and evaluation of health systems development programmes at policy and implementation levels. Building on her early career in UK nursing, Alison has particular expertise in delivering quality maternal and newborn health services. Alison has experience across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, managing UK Aid-funded maternal health and health sector programmes in India and Nepal.
  • Maya Jaffe
    Maya leads Options’ strategies for seeking and creating new business opportunities. The power of partnership is a driving principle for her approach to building consortia, designing programmes and developing proposals. Her expertise includes strategic planning, business and organisational development, programme design, commercial analysis and grants management. She has 20 years’ experience in global health and international development.
  • Kenneth Macharia
    Kenneth has over 21 years’ international experience designing programmes, developing and executing effective business strategies for revenue and market share growth in the UK and Africa. Kenneth is part of the Kenya Programme Management team, supporting the Director of Programmes with strategic planning and programme quality assurance. He drives strategic growth for Options in Kenya and the wider region.
  • Amina Ahmad-Shehu
    Amina is a public health expert with over 25 years’ experience working in complex, low-resource settings in the government and non-governmental sectors providing leadership and technical support to ensure the delivery of quality health and development services. She is focused on building a solid platform for er team and their various programmes, to meaningfully contribute to the development and strengthening of Nigeria’s health system.

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