Sustainability of medical abortion services in the Caucasian region
Tamar Tsereteli Gynuity Health Projects, Tbilisi, Georgia - email@example.com
Caucasian women, as residents of former Soviet republics, have had widespread access to legal abortion for almost one hundred years. Abortion rates are high, and many women rely on abortion as their primary means of fertility regulation. Current laws provide for abortions up to 12 weeks’ gestation without restrictions, and up to 22 weeks’ gestation for broad medical and selected socioeconomic grounds. Until recently, surgical abortion was the only option available to women in Caucasian countries. Very few doctors were trained in medical abortion provision, most women did not know what medical abortion was or had an incorrect understanding of the procedure and there were no recommended national protocols doctors could consult if they were interested in providing the service. In addition, mifepristone was not always available: if registered at all, it often was unavailable outside of the capital cities. In 2006, Gynuity Health Projects launched a series of collaborative activities in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia with the goal of increasing the availability of safe abortion services and access to medical abortion. Activities included training for doctors and nurses on medical abortion, clinical research studies, dissemination meetings to present study findings, development of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials for women and assistance in developing national protocols. In some cases data generated from the clinical studies supported mifepristone registration and informed national protocols. Between December 2011 and June 2013, Gynuity conducted studies in Armenia and Georgia to assess ongoing provision of medical abortion services and evaluate the quality of care provided at former research sites. This presentation will describe how programme components have contributed to sustainability of medical abortion in the Caucasian region.