Typically, to obtain contraceptives through a doctor or GP, women in Singapore need to travel to a clinic for a prescription and pick up their medication at a pharmacy. However, the coronavirus global pandemic deeply disrupted physical access to a clinic.
In response to the growth in COVID-19 cases in Singapore, hospitals, clinics, and GPs have shifted their resources to serve and care for COVID-19 patients. This has caused hospitals and clinics to postpone non-urgent services and procedures. Furthermore, during Singapore’s circuit breaker, clinics were permitted to remain open only for the delivery of "essential services". An official circular by the Ministry of Health defined these as services that, "if not provided or performed, would result in significant or rapid deterioration of the patient’s medical condition, and potentially threaten their health and wellbeing". Based on this definition, many clinics took the view that sexual and reproductive health services, such as emergency contraception, birth control and STD testing, were "non-essential" and therefore turned away patients who needed them.
Telehealthcare, COVID-19 and beyond
Digital reproductive and sexual healthcare can be transformative in times like these. Through video consultations and the discreet delivery of products such as birth control and STD test kits to your doorstep, telehealthcare offers a safe and reliable way to access reproductive and sexual healthcare, especially during a time when staying home has become the new normal.
According to a McKinsey Study, the use of telehealth has grown rapidly in the United States and now serves the needs of a much broader consumer base consisting of those who face barriers to directly and physically accessing healthcare at a hospital or a clinic.
Telehealthcare fills a gap that exists in the healthcare market that disproportionately affects women and marginalised people, due to the additional difficulties they face in accessing healthcare. Access to digital healthcare benefits people who cannot afford to take time off their day to wait for long hours at the clinic to see a doctor, as well as those who may not feel comfortable visiting a doctor’s office, such as trans people and people with disabilities.
A word from us
We believe that access to sexual and reproductive health services is a basic healthcare right. Ease is Singapore’s first digital health startup focused on making access to sensitive health services more convenient, affordable and discreet through the use of telemedicine. We have reduced the barriers to accessing birth control, emergency contraception and other sexual health services by allowing you to have consultations online and have your medication delivered right to your doorstep, thereby allowing anyone to manage their sexual and reproductive health in the comfort and privacy of their own home.