Republic of Moldova becomes one of the Region’s first countries to adopt a national programme on sexual and reproductive health and rights

WHO/Anatol Tomsa

The Republic of Moldova launched the new National Programme on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights 2018–2022 (SRHR Programme) on 24 May 2018 in Chisinau, becoming one of the first countries in the WHO European Region to adopt such a national programme. The provisions of the document and the joint implementation mechanism were discussed during a large policy dialogue organized by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection in partnership with WHO and the United Nations Population Fund.

Ensuring universal access

The current need for modern, client-centred family planning methods and sexual and reproductive health services remains largely unmet. Only one third of women of reproductive age in the Republic of Moldova use modern contraceptive methods. This rate is even lower among young people.

The SRHR Programme aims to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, including in case of humanitarian situations, to improve quality of care and human rights-based and patient-centred approaches to sexual and reproductive health. It also prioritizes population information and education.

“This Programme is extremely important for improving the access to and the quality of services provided equally for everyone, and especially for vulnerable groups,” stressed Dr Svetlana Cebotari, Minister of Health, Labour and Social Protection.

The country will strengthen the mechanism used for estimating the need for modern contraceptive methods as well as procurement and free distribution to vulnerable groups. It will enhance the quality of services by observing the right to free choice of contraception method, counselling, informed consent and other important aspects aligned with international standards and requirements.

Dr Nino Berdzuli, Programme Manager of Sexual and Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health at WHO/Europe, noted: “Sexual and reproductive health services, including maternal, newborn and adolescent health services, that are available and accessible to everyone are the foundation for building universal health coverage. The realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights is integral to achieving the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and critical to accomplishing the goals of the National Development Strategy 2030 for the Republic of Moldova.”

A mandate for action with intersectoral support

The SRHR Programme is in line with the National Health Policy of the Republic of Moldova 2007–2021, the National Public Health Strategy 2014–2020, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the WHO European Action plan for sexual and reproductive health, and the WHO Global strategy for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health 2016–2030.

The event brought together representatives of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research, the Ministry of Internal Affairs/Civil Protection and Emergency Situations Service; and the Ministry of Finance; representatives of health-care facilities including reproductive health cabinets, youth-friendly health centres and the Institute of Mother and Child Health; and representatives of medical education institutions, professional associations and civil society.