Early this year, HERA and the University Clinic for Gynaecology and Obstetrics launched the medical abortion project aimed at improving the public health capacities for providing this service. On account of its simplicity and safety for the health of women, medical abortion is increasingly replacing the surgical approach to termination of pregnancy, which is evident in the fact that 80% of abortions performed in the EU countries are performed with medicaments. Moreover, in circumstances of the pandemic, medical abortion is considered to be a safer option for termination of pregnancy as it reduces to the minimum the need to visit a health facility, thus curbing the risk from exposure to COVID-19.
As part of the project, a donation by the International Planned Parenthood Federation helped renovate and equip an office at the Clinic that will be used for providing information and counseling to women interested in medical abortion. Information brochures were printed for the patients, and a training was delivered to health professionals who will be providing the medical abortion service to women that choose this option. In this way, the Clinic will roll out a model of service provision for medical abortion that could in the future be replicated in other public hospitals.
The cooperation between HERA and the Clinic followed the decision of the Ministry of Health to approve the Clinical Guidelines on Safe Abortion (30 December 2020) which also provide medical instructions for performing the medical abortion in compliance with World Health Organization standards. Moreover, in the framework of the 2021 Mother & Child Health Program, the Ministry has allocated a budget of half a million denars to the Gynaecology and Obstetrics Clinic for the procurement of medicines required for medical abortion.
As of today, with the piloting of this service at the Gynaecology and Obstetrics Clinic in Skopje, an alternative method for termination of pregnancy, beside the existing surgical approach, will become available to women. However, the lack of medicines on the market and the insufficient training of health professionals are still posing a challenge for the medical abortion to become widely available around the country.