In 2020, the RCOG is embarking on a three-year programme working to increase healthcare professionals capacity to address the barriers to safe abortion and/or post-abortion care for women and girls globally.
Every year an estimated 25 million unsafe abortions take place around the world and it is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality and morbidity worldwide. The risk of dying from an unsafe abortion is highest for women in Africa, where nearly half of all abortions happen in potentially dangerous circumstances1. Almost every death from unsafe abortion is preventable with the use of effective contraception, provision of safe abortion, and timely post-abortion care
Abortion is an essential part of women’s healthcare. As such, the Making Abortion Safe programme will work to increase healthcare professionals (HCPs) capacity to address the barriers to safe abortion and post-abortion care for women and girls globally. The programme will work in five focus countries (Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Zimbabwe), while also advocating for safe abortion and post-abortion care globally through RCOG members. In the five focus countries, the programme will recruit up to 40 Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) champions who will advocate to bring down the barriers to safe abortion and/or post-abortion service provision.
The programme will focus on three areas:
- Professionalism: HCPs will have increased access to safe abortion and post-abortion care through RCOG educational and professional resources.
- Normalisation: Normalisation: HCPs will have the tools they need to be supported to provide and/or facilitate access to safe abortion and/or post-abortion care including guidance addressing stigma, peer-to-peer support and values clarification
- Leadership: Champions and other HCPs’ capacity to advocate for safe abortion and/or post-abortion care is strengthened. SRHR champions will develop and implement advocacy strategies in each of the five focus countries.
Critical to the programme’s success will be partnering with professional societies, NGOs, like-minded individuals and others who are working to ensure women and girls’ have access to safe abortion and/or post-abortion care. Meanwhile, the RCOG will also be taking a pro-active approach to influencing policy and practice around the world.
The SRHR Champions and other healthcare professionals will be supported with a package of e-Learning, professional guidance, advocacy training and other activities, which will be tailored to each of the programme country’s unique situation and the specific advocacy priorities identified by Champions.
1 Ganatra B, Gerdts C, Rossier C, Johnson Jr B R, Tuncalp Ö, Assifi A, Sedgh G, Singh S, Bankole A, Popinchalk A, Bearak J, Kang Z, Alkema L. Global, regional, and subregional classification of abortions by safety, 2010–14: estimates from a Bayesian hierarchical model. The Lancet. 2017