Scaling up access to safe abortion care in Ukraine

A workshop dedicated to the development of a scaling-up strategy of the Comprehensive Care for Unwanted Pregnancies (CCUP) approach in Ukraine was organized in Kyiv on 3-5 October 2012.

The CCUP project aims 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.

Improving sexual and reproductive health has been a priority of joint work between WHO/Europe and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine for many years.  This successful cooperation has brought a number of tangible results for services delivered to women during the first phase (2009-2011) of the CCUP project. Based on this success, it was agreed that it would be important to continue and to scale up the CCUP initiative during the second phase (2012-2014) with the addition of new activities and the expansion of the initial geographic coverage from three to five regions.

The project is being jointly implemented by the Ministry, WHO, and the charitable fund “Women's Health and Family Planning” with financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The objectives of the workshop were:

  • to review progress to date in implementing the CCUP interventions;
  • to identify factors that have led to success in implementation and those that remain challenges to future scaling up;
  • to learn about the ExpandNet/WHO framework for scaling up and the associated resources to support the process of successful expansion and institutionalization; and
  • to use the ExpandNet/WHO 9 Step guide and worksheets in a participatory process to develop a systematic strategy for future enlargement of the CCUP project interventions.

The workshop brought together more than 40 representatives from government and nongovernmental institutions, international partner organizations, representatives of scientific and research institutions, stakeholders and partners from the regions of Ukraine. 

At the opening session, Dr Alyona Tereshchenko, Head, Management Unit of Maternal, Child and Sanatorium Care, Ministry of Health, stressed the importance of learning WHO methodology to develop a strategy to scale up and to apply it to the CCUP project so that more women of Ukraine could benefit from the project. Dr Gunta Lazdane, Regional adviser for sexual and reproductive health at WHO/Europe, stressed the importance of thinking in advance about the sustainability of the project to ensure that it will continue without the direct involvement of donor and international organizations. The strategy development workshop is aimed at helping to achieve this goal.  

During the workshop, participants agreed that a developed plan of future intervention, coherent and close collaboration and thorough understanding of achievements and challenges will provide the much needed support to Ukraine in achieving Millennium Development Goal #5 on “Improving maternal health” and bring positive change to the lives of Ukrainian women.