A sub-regional consultation on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) was organized on 10-11 March with representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, and Serbia, under the lead of the UNFPA Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
The meeting focused on the status of sexual and reproductive health and agreed on actions for sustaining and accelerating the progress for sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health. It also considered the COVID19 pandemic trends and potential impact on SRH in the region.
The specific objectives of the two days’ sub-regional consultations aimed at:
– discussing the current status of Sexual and Reproductive Health, especially, in the context of universal health coverage;
– sharing experiences and results of implementation of the “Action Plan for Sexual and Reproductive Health; Towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Europe – leaving no one behind”;
– finding solutions on maintaining access to Sexual and Reproductive Health interventions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In her opening remarks, Dr. Mira Dasic, the Director of the Secretariat of the South Eastern Health Network praised the efforts of the UNFPA Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia to sustaining and accelerating the progress in UHC for SRMNCAH in the region.
The SEEHN director acknowledged the consequences the pandemic had on the Sustainable Development Agenda, stating that the low- and middle-income countries suffered the most and encountered a decrease in service delivery up to 47%, and that lockdowns and quarantine measures have dramatically limited access to sexual and reproductive health prevention services, procedures and medications.
At the same time, she made a strong call to acknowledge that the setbacks and disruption caused by COVID-19 need to catch-up as soon as possible to leave no one behind.
Dr Dasic also stressed the importance of cooperation and partnership to come and support those next steps and recommendations for action on Sexual and Reproductive Health in the context of universal health coverage, so that we build a complementary, joint forces framework, supporting each other to maximize results in the South Eastern Europe.
SEEHN Secretariat was pleased to be part of this strategic planning exercise involving as partners, the WHO Regional Office for Europe, the Ghent University, and the East European Institute of Reproductive Health acting also as SEEHN Regional Health Development Center.