Urban disparities in sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the Global South: A scoping review of the evidence

Document Type

Data Set

Publication Date



The world is rapidly urbanizing, with the Global South estimated to contain three-quarters of the world’s urban inhabitants by 2050. There are no standardized definitions of urban settings, and urban populations are significantly heterogeneous with regard to their demographic makeup, economic status, access to services, and health outcomes. Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are a critical component of developing healthy and productive urban populations. We hypothesize that SRHR needs, services, and preferences are heterogenous within urban areas, and highly inequitable, and that current data available are not sufficient to fully understand how to address these inequities. A scoping review of the literature will be conducted to explore current research findings (2010 to the present) to understand health and economic disparities within urban settings in the Global South, the role of social and gender equity, and evidence around proposed and tested interventions to date. The potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in urban areas will also be considered, including disruption of service delivery and shifts in outcomes such as gender-based violence, sexual debut, early marriage, and fertility preferences. Findings from this review will elucidate research gaps and next steps for stakeholders such as researchers, programmers, policymakers and donors that aim to foster inclusive urbanization in part by improving access to and uptake of SRHR services for all, as well as addressing linkages to gender equity and education. The objective of this review is to summarize the evidence regarding the SRHR needs and experiences of urban dwellers in the Global South, identify any successful interventions or programs that have been tested, and outline gaps in the literature and opportunities moving forward.


Related article