Using research to increase access to medical abortion in Uzbekistan
Diffuza Kurbanbekova Women's Wellness Center, Tashkent, Uzbekistan - email@example.com
The Republic of Uzbekistan, located in Central Asia, is the most populous country in the region with 28 million people. More than a quarter of the population are women of reproductive age. Abortion in Uzbekistan has been legal for over 50 years and abortion services are available without restriction in the first 12 weeks of gestation. Abortion in the second trimester (up to 24 weeks) is available only on broad medical and select socioeconomic grounds. Until recently, the prevailing methods for termination of pregnancy were manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) using outdated equipment and dilatation and curettage (D&C) under local anaesthesia. Although mifepristone has been registered in the country since 2005, there were no national guidelines on medical abortion provision. In addition, the lack of trained providers and absence of an established distribution system for mifepristone inhibited its use on a wide scale. In 2007, Gynuity Health Projects launched a series of collaborative activities in Uzbekistan with the goal of increasing access to medical abortion services in the country. Through its clinical research projects and trainings, Gynuity introduced an evidence-based regimen, trained providers in provision of early medical abortion and expanded access to medical abortion services by conducting a study on an alternative method of follow-up. Additional collaborative activities included dissemination meetings to present study findings and assistance in developing national protocols. This presentation will describe how clinical research has contributed to increased access to medical abortion in Uzbekistan.