Stakeholders in Azerbaijan discuss the strategy for reproductive health (2017–2025)

WHO

From left to right: Jamila Gurbanova, Director of the Scientific-research Institute in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Chairperson of the working group in charge of the development of the Reproductive health strategy and action plan of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Malahat Ibragimgizi, Member of the Parliament of the republic of Azerbaijan.

Since June 2016, at the request of the Government of Azerbaijan, the WHO Regional Office for Europe has assisted reproductive health experts in the country with analysing the results of implementation of the National Strategy on Reproductive Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan (2008–2015), identifying achievements and remaining gaps and developing a new strategy and action plan. The Regional Office and international experts provided technical support to ensure that national policy documents are in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and other global and regional policies.

Dr Jamila Gurbanova, Director of the Scientific Research Institute on Obstetrics and Gynaecology, was appointed chair of the working group responsible for development of the new reproductive health strategy by the Ministry of Health. With the Ministry, and with the support of the WHO Country Office in Azerbaijan, she organized a meeting of stakeholders on the final draft of the new reproductive health strategy for 2017–2025 on 28 February. More than 60 participants represented different sectors and institutions that currently contribute or are ready to contribute to further improvements in reproductive health of all.

In her welcoming remarks, Ms Malahat Ibrahumgizi, Member of the Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan, emphasized “the importance of reproductive health to the development of each and every person and family, and society in general”. She stated that without the joint approach and strategic documents it would not be possible to achieve improvements and to fight the many myths surrounding reproductive health. “Reproductive health is very sensitive and nations have their own traditions and beliefs; however, the new strategy is well balanced and includes the latest available evidence for further improvement of the reproductive health of the population of Azerbaijan. National experts have focused on promotion of reproductive health and well-being and on prevention of ill health.”

Strong support from many sectors

Information on global and regional WHO policies and their relevance to Azerbaijan was presented by Dr Gunta Lazdane, Sexual and Reproductive Health Programme Manager at the WHO Regional Office for Europe. During the meeting representatives of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Transport, State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs, Public Health and Reform Centre, State Agency for Compulsory Medical Insurance, NGOs and country offices of United Nations organizations in Azerbaijan such as the United Nations Population Fund, United Nations Children's Fund, World Bank, International Organization for Migration and WHO, as well as other institutions involved in the promotion and protection of reproductive health, took the floor. All of them emphasized the importance of the new strategy, praised the work done by the working group and expressed their support and readiness to contribute.

Reproductive health requires an all-of-government approach; this event was an excellent example of the implementation of the European strategic policy framework Health 2020.