UKRAINE, UZBEKISTAN, AZERBAIJAN – Evaluation of telemedicine medical abortion using a no‐test protocol in the Eastern Europe and Central Asian region: Evidence from Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan

by Tamar Tsereteli, Ingrida Platais, Mahlet Maru, Galyna Maystruk, Dilfuza Kurbanbekova, Gulnara Rzayeva, Beverly Winikoff

International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 27 May 2024


Objective: To evaluate safety, feasibility, and acceptability of a telemedicine medical abortion service without pre-treatment in-person tests in Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan.

Methods: We conducted an open-label, prospective, observational clinical study at five clinics in the three countries. Interested and eligible participants scheduled a telemedicine consultation with a study provider by phone or video. Medical abortion pills could be obtained by mail or courier or picked up at the study clinic or a pharmacy. Study providers contacted participants 1 week after mifepristone ingestion to assess abortion outcomes based on symptoms, and 3 weeks later to review the result of an at-home, high-sensitivity, urine pregnancy test. Participants were referred to in-person visit based on symptoms, urine pregnancy test results, or initiative by the participant.

Results: In all, 300 women participated in the study. Almost all participants received medical abortion medications the same day as their first contact with the study clinic, and the majority (n = 297, 99.0%) did not experience any problems receiving them. All except two women (0.67%) followed provider instructions on administration of medications. The majority of participants had a complete abortion without a procedure (Ukraine: n = 115, 95.8%; Uzbekistan: n = 127, 97.7%; Azerbaijan: n = 49, 98.0%), few had in-person visits (Ukraine: n = 30, 25.0%; Uzbekistan: n = 3, 2.3%; Azerbaijan: n = 4, 8.0%), and most were very satisfied or satisfied with the service (Ukraine: n = 116, 96%; Uzbekistan: n = 128, 98%; Azerbaijan: n = 45, 90%). No serious adverse events occurred.

Conclusion: Telemedicine medical abortion using a no-test protocol is safe, feasible, and acceptable to women in Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan.