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New toolkit released to tackle stigma experienced by abortion care providers

14 Jun 2023

Today the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ (RCOG) Making Abortion Safe programme (MAS) has released a new toolkit. The toolkit summarises the evidence base and identifies current practices and resources that could help reduce and manage the stigma which recent research undertaken by the MAS programme (RCOG 2021, unpublished) indicates is experienced globally by those working in abortion care.

The Making Abortion Safe programme is a multi-country advocacy programme, led by the RCOG, and delivered in partnership with healthcare professionals in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Sudan, which aims to improve women and girls’ access to quality and safe abortion, post abortion care and/or post abortion contraception, by addressing the barriers they face in these countries and beyond. A core component of this work has been to research the stigma experienced by healthcare professionals working in abortion care and to increase awareness of the need for, and ways in which organisations can tackle this issue.

Professor Hassan Shehata, Vice President for Global Health at Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’, comments: “Healthcare professionals who provide abortion care often find they are discredited, harassed and discriminated against by their communities and colleagues because of their association with abortion. We hope this toolkit helps to provide useful interventions to support those healthcare professionals.”

The newly released toolkit is intended to support agencies and organisations’ strategic thinking about how best to support those providing abortion care. It outlines some promising approaches, links to relevant resources and provides some recommendations for delivering these interventions. The content has been developed to be relevant to a global audience, but – depending on country circumstances, particularly legal contexts – local adaptations may be needed.

It has also been three months since the RCOG and women’s health organisation partners published their five commitments to addressing stigma and shame in women’s health services globally. This is another example of tangible action taken by the RCOG against these commitments.

To access the toolkit click here.

  • Clinical and research
  • Abortion