Despite considerable progress, the needs of marginalised communities have been traditionally underrepresented in national policies and programmes targeting Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Societal taboos and prejudice associated with women and adolescent girls’ sexuality, sexual and reproductive health and access to contraception become even more of a challenge if compounded with other vulnerabilities and discrimination associated with HIV status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, sex work, drug use and intimate partner violence.

The project “Assessment of the access barriers of vulnerable groups to comprehensive family planning services and commodities in the UNFPA Eastern Europe and Central Asia region” was launched in November 2020, with funding from the East European Institute for Reproductive Health, as implementing partner of UNFPA Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office. The aim of the project was to improve responsiveness of family planning programs in the UNFPA region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), with the focus on most marginalized and underserved people and communities.

The purpose of this assessment was to shed light on perceived access barriers to and utilization of comprehensive family planning services by women living with HIV, women and girls living with disabilities, and survivors of intimate partner violence. In particular, the assessment set out to explore how the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, other mobility restrictions, income losses and associated conditions have affected the use of family planning services and contraceptives.

The objectives of the assessment were:

To conduct an assessment of the perceived availability, acceptability and quality of family planning services and access to contraceptive commodities in the EECA region. The assessment was conducted in two phases, using a combination of quantitative (Phase 1) and qualitative (Phase 2) methods. Due to financial constraints, Phase 2 of the project was implemented only in Armenia and Ukraine, and started in January 2022.

To produce a report with recommendations for strengthening health systems and community services in support to inclusive and non-discriminatory family planning policies and programs in the EECA region.

ENIL’s role in the project is to provide expertise in relation to women with disabilities, to coordinate a group of researchers and participating DPOs in the EECA region and to provide administrative support to researchers and DPOs.

Contact person: Lilia Angelova-Mladenova, lili.angelova@enil.eu