Ukraine scales up services for women with unwanted pregnancies

Andrey Solovyov

Participants of the meeting were very enthusiastic about the National Clinical Protocol on Comprehensive Care for Unwanted Pregnancies recently approved by the Ministry of Health

Ukraine has developed and implemented new national standards for safe abortion care. This achievement in improving the quality of services for women with unwanted pregnancies involved implementing evidence-based recommendations on safe abortion in selected regions. This was achieved within phase I of the project on Comprehensive Care for Unwanted Pregnancies (CCUP). The results of the project so far were presented at the National Dissemination Workshop on May 25–26, 2011.

Phase I of the CCUP project (2009-2011) was implemented jointly by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, the World Health Organization for Europe, and the charitable fund “Women's Health and Family Planning” with financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The main goal of the project was to strengthen women’s reproductive health and rights by developing new national standards for safe abortion care and implementing those standards in selected outpatient and inpatient settings.

Priority activities of the CCUP project were based on the findings and recommendations developed by the Strategic Assessment of policies, programmes and research issues of unwanted pregnancies in Ukraine in 2008 and included the following:

  • Developing and approving National protocol on Comprehensive Care for Unwanted Pregnancies which includes current evidence-based recommendations on pre- and post-abortion counseling, safe abortion techniques, methods for pain management, infection prevention approaches, and monitoring and evaluation of services;
  • Capacity building of health care personnel to ensure good-quality services for CCUP, including development of training curricula and provision of pre-service and in-service training;
  • Testing a model of CCUP service delivery in three selected regions of Ukraine;
  • Monitoring and evaluation of the project;
  • Developing communication strategy on CCUP.

More than 70 participants joined the conference, including national policy makers, health care managers and experts from all over Ukraine, representatives of various government, non-government and international organizations. The results of the project were actively discussed by the audience; priority recommendations for the next phase of project implementation were developed by participants and presented to the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and included the following main areas: scaling up access to improved services and capacity building for health personnel; introducing safer methods for second-trimester abortion; and further strengthening monitoring and evaluation.

In conclusion, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine agreed that a scaling-up strategy should be developed during the next phase of the project in order to better institutionalize the provision of evidence-based CCUP and to expand the benefits to all Ukrainian women of reproductive age.