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Critical online tool for reproductive-health procurement now available in Russian

ISTANBUL — Today, on World Population Day, UNFPA’s Procurement Services Branch (PSB) and UNFPA’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office (EECARO) announce the launch of the UNFPA Procurement Services website in Russian.

Many countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) face challenges in attaining universal access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH), particularly when it comes to securing the rights of women and youth to freely choose, obtain and use high-quality contraceptives, including condoms.

The Russian-language website is a critical tool for implementing the national SRH strategies in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) commitments. The UNFPA Procurement Services website provides the public sector with new, cost-effective opportunities for procurement of high-quality SRH commodities. In addition, the website offers tools, online trainings and other capacity-building opportunities to accelerate the progress in achieving universal access to SRH, of which family planning is a cornerstone.

UNFPA partners with government agencies and NGOs to improve access to quality assured supplies in a cost effective and reliable way. By working with a wide variety of manufacturers, UNFPA provides partners with access to high-quality commodities based on internationally recognized quality standards and access to favourable international pricing through a direct procurement channel. Available products include a range of reproductive health medicines and equipment, from condoms to hormonal pills and long-acting reversible contraceptives, as well as pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnostic kits, reproductive health and dignity kits for emergencies, and other products. UNFPA PSB and EECARO work closely to operationalize new opportunities for EECA countries to build cost-effective, sustainable national programmes and make reproductive health commodities equally accessible for all.

Despite improvements in access to SRH services, the inequities between and within countries in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region in access to modern contraception are significant. High numbers of unintended pregnancies, rising incidence of HIV and other STIs, cervical cancer and other health problems are a growing concern in public health. Young people, the poor, migrants and refugees, ethnic minorities and rural population groups still face serious barriers in accessing the services and information they need to safeguard their health.

UNFPA has been one of the main providers of contraceptives in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region, an effort that has yielded considerable reduction in maternal and infant mortality and decrease in the number of unintended pregnancies, including among adolescents. But as donor funding declines for national family-planning programmes as these countries graduate to middle- and upper middle-income status, innovative new region-tailored approaches are required to secure and improve on reproductive-health gains in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The Regional Contraceptive Security Strategic Framework developed and implemented by the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia for 2017–2021 outlines a path for them to take national ownership of contraceptive commodities in a sustainable, human-rights-based direction over the next four years. The Russian-language UNFPA Procurement Services website is one of the priority actions identified by the Eastern Europe and Central Asia countries and addressed by UNFPA to support countries in taking full national ownership of the provision of reproductive-health commodities and building national capacity for universal access to SRH.

Alanna Armitage, Regional Director, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, UNFPA

Eric Dupont, Chief, Procurement Services Branch, UNFPA