EASTERN EUROPE / CENTRAL ASIA – National Abortion Protocols in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

The project “Bringing the WHO recommendations on safeabortion closer to women, in countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, bysupporting the development of national clinical guidelines and protocols onunwanted pregnancy,” is making notable progress toward improving the quality ofabortion services in the region. It is coordinated by the Reproductive HealthTraining Center (RHTC) in Moldova and supported by the Safe Abortion ActionFund,

Just under a year ago, a group of sexual and reproductivehealth experts from 12 Eastern European and Central Asian countries togetherlaunched the Regional Reproductive Health and Rights Coalition. As part of theaforementioned project, six Coalition member countries committed themselves toconducting a thorough review of existing national abortion protocols, includingmonitoring and evaluation plans, and revising their contents to be betteraligned with the latest WHO recommendations.

During this time, RHTC has been in regular contact withrespective country coordinators, providing assistance and guidance whennecessary. The ground that country coordinators and their teams have coveredhas been tremendous. Five countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Kazakhstan andUzbekistan) have already carried out detailed situational analyses, evaluatingaccess to and quality of abortion services and comparing their nationalprotocols to international guidelines. The full analyses can be found on theCoalition’s website –they are currently only available in Russian, though the RHTC team is workingto disseminate English translations in the near future.

Furthermore, one of the countries, Uzbekistan, has alreadyapplied the results of its situational analysis to revise its national abortionprotocol. Having received additional input from RHTC, the Uzbekistan team arecurrently adapting the protocol as necessary and will soon be prepared topresent it for approval by the Ministry of Health. Likewise, other participatingcountries are now following suit, collectively working to assure that theirprotocols are in congruence with WHO recommendations.

In the coming months, country coordinators and their teamswill continue their collaborative efforts to achieve project objectives andadvance women’s fundamental right to safe abortion.

SOURCES: Reproductive Health Training Center, in: ASTRA Bulletin on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, No.7 (186), 11 October 2019 ; TOP PHOTO from Video, Moldova Conference, November 2018 ; See also Report of the Regional Conference, Campaign newsletter, 17 December 2018