Gynuity Health Projects held a national dissemination meeting in November 2022 with partners in Uzbekistan to share the results of a pilot study evaluating a telemedicine medical abortion service delivery model that omits routine facility-based tests, e.g. pre-abortion ultrasound and blood tests. Close to 150 people attended the meeting. An analysis of the data collected at the two participating facilities in Tashkent and Bukhara showed that this approach is safe, effective and highly acceptable to women and providers. Remote provision of abortion care using a ‘no-test’ medication abortion protocol would give women more agency and help close the access gap. Gynuity are conducting similar studies in Azerbaijan and Ukraine.
SOURCE: Gynuity Health Projects Newsletter 6:3, December 2022
Abortion rates falling even though abortion access is good
In Uzbekistan, women have long had access to safe abortion. Current legislation allows the termination of a pregnancy within the first 12 weeks and at any stage if the pregnancy threatens the mother’s health or life. The law lists 86 types of various life and health threatening medical indications. The criminal code of Uzbekistan envisions administrative or criminal liability only for those who force women to abort a child or who carry out abortion illegally, but a woman herself is not liable for terminating a pregnancy under any circumstances. Uzbekistan is the most populous country in Central Asia. From a mere 24 million in 2000, the country’s population has boomed to over 35 million in 2021. Tashkent has long promoted family planning and prevention of unwanted babies via local healthcare entities even in the most remote villages. Contraceptives are available without any restrictions. Yet abortion rates are falling.
SOURCES: The Diplomat, by Niginakhon Saida, 29 November 2022 ; PHOTO by Flickr, in: The Borgen Project, Female Activism: Women In Uzbekistan 2020