Boosting standards of care for women's health region-wide

20 June 2016
UNFPA's Tamar Khomasuridze speaking at the standards launch
UNFPA EECARO Sexual and Reproductive Health Adviser Tamar Khomasuridze speaks at the launch of the standards

TURIN, Italy – The Russian-language version of a ground-breaking set of European standards of care aimed at improving women’s health outcomes in Eastern Europe and Central Asia was launched in May at the 24th European Congress of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

UNFPA’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office initiated and supported the translation into Russian of the European Standards of Care for Women’s Health, a trailblazing set of 43 standards on sexual and reproductive health issues. The aim of the standards is to promote, improve, and harmonise the quality of care and access to care for all women and their babies, not only in Europe, but globally as well.

‘The translation of the women’s health care standards into Russian is one of the successful results of a cooperation agreement between UNFPA and the European Board and College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology initiated to strengthen institutional capacities aimed at ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health in our region’s countries,’ said Tamar Khomasuridze, UNFPA Sexual and Reproductive Health Adviser for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. ‘We are glad that the Russian Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology joined our efforts to translate the standards into Russian.’

The European Standards of Care for Women’s Health are comprised of two sets of documents: one for Obstetric and Neonatal Services and one for Gynaecology Services, including sexual and reproductive health. Together, they define a roadmap for the provision of quality services underpinned by clinical governance, safety, and patient experience and expectation. They also address requirements for the training and support of doctors and healthcare professionals. All of the documents are accessible, free of charge, through the websites of the three partner organisations.

‘I am really delighted that UNFPA has supported EBCOG so enthusiastically, not only financially, but in terms of their goodwill and commitment, with the translation of the European Standards of Care for Women’s Health into Russian. We are also greatly indebted to the Russian Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology for all its support,’ said EBCOG President Dr. Tahir Mahmood. ‘It is extremely encouraging to know that UNFPA shares our vision of seeing the Standards of Care implemented as widely as possible for the benefit of all women and their babies.’

Overcoming language barriers is one of the most critical issues in ensuring that healthcare managers and service providers in Eastern Europe and Central Asia can access and utilise the best international technical resources on sexual and reproductive health, including scientific evidences, quality-of-care standards, and training opportunities.

UNFPA and EBCOG are working together closely to build capacity for delivering safe and equitable sexual and reproductive health services across Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Each year, they jointly offer two €4,000 professional development scholarships for health professionals from the region to visit specialised centres in Western Europe that offer knowledge and skills to advance quality improvement in sexual and reproductive health. The two organisations are also jointly developing an educational package on sexual and reproductive service provision as well as university-level curriculum to train healthcare providers and educate healthcare policy-makers on the best models for providing sexual and reproductive health care.