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UNFPA and CSO Global Strategy Meeting: ICPD beyond 2014 and Post-2015 Development Agenda

The ‘Global Strategy meeting between UNFPA and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on ICPD beyond 2014 and Post-2015’ has been convened by UNFPA from 23-25 January 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey. The meeting objective was to strategize on how CSOs and UNFPA can partner to ensure that the outcomes of the ICPD Beyond 2014 review process are taken forward and integrated into the Post-2015 agenda, including through a responsive monitoring and evaluation framework.  The working groups of CSOs from different regions have given a great input to strengthen the SRHR issues in the final document. The final report summarizing the CSOs working groups’ results will be finalized soon.

ASTRA representatives attended the meeting, participated actively in the discussions and led one of the sessions during the conference.

Emergency contraception to be sold over the counter in Poland!

Early January the European Commission has decided that the emergency contraceptive with ulipristal acetate will be sold over-the-counter across the European Union. The EC will be available in pharmacy without the prescription in some European countries from February, with a full launch program taking place across the EU in the rest of the year.

Thanks to this decision emergency contraception (at least the new type with ulipristal acetate) will be available over-the-counter in Poland, Polish Health ministry said on 14 January. ASTRA member organization, Federation for Women and Family Planning has been advocating for better access to modern contraceptives for many years and people are supporting these claims. The Federation has launched the petition demanding that the government respects the EC decision on emergency contraceptives, which was supported by over 10000 people in three days. Also, the Federation wrote a letter to the Minister of Health urging him to make sure the administrative procedures are not delayed and that Polish women get access to the pill OTC as soon as possible On 23 January government representative said that the pill will be sold over-the-counter to all people including teens aged over 15 (this is the age of consent in Poland). 

You can still sign this petition here. We need public support in order to push for a prompt introduction of these new regulations as, considering the government's conservative views, delays can be expected.

 

Source: Federation for Women and Family Planning

Call for applications: Women Deliver Young Leaders Program

Women Deliver has opened the call for applications for Young Leaders Program and Women Deliver 2016 conference.

The Young Leaders Program is a  three-year fellowship program for young people (under the age of 30) who are passionate about maternal, sexual, and reproductive health and rights. The program involves capacity building e-learning covering SRHR issues, advocacy, communications and project managament and enables attending the Women Deliver conference, which is taking place in May 2016, Denmark.

To apply for the Young Leaders Program, fill out the application here.

The application are also open for youth advocates to apply for Youth Scholarships enabling the attendance to the conference.

To apply for a youth scholarship, fill out the application here.

Applications are open till 1st March.

More information is to be found here.

 

Source: Women Deliver

Youth Vision newsletter including activities of ASTRA Youth members

We recommend the December issue of UNFPA Georgia newsletter 'Youth Vision' providing news on youth in Georgia: Marking the world AIDS day, Daddy, Read Me a Book and many more. The newsletter includes the information on Youth Voices Campaign in Georgia, in which ASTRA Youth members: Real People Real Vision and Association HERA XXI are involved!

The newsletter is available here.

Source: UNFPA Georgia

Petition to Polish Ministry of Health demanding access to emergency contraception without prescription

Polish ASTRA Network member, Federation for Women and Family Planning has launched the petition to Polish Ministry of Health demanding that Polish Ministry of Health implements European Commission recommendations that emergency contraception should be sold over the counter.

The English version of the petition follows along with the link: 

We demand emergency contraception without prescription in Poland
https://secure.avaaz.org/pl/petition/Minister_Zdrowia_Rzeczpospolitej_Polskiej_Dostep_do_antykoncepcji_awaryjnej_bez_recepty/

Anna needed emergency contraception. She and her partner used a condom but it failed. She knew that in Poland she needs to obtain a prescription for pills. Her doctor was on vacation so she went to another clinic. There a receptionist told her in a loud voice that no doctor would prescribe her “that” and dismissed her saying there are no available appointments. In the second public clinic a doctor told her that he would not give the prescription. He did not provide any medical reasons for that, he just said “I don’t give a shit”. He managed to judge Anna's personal choices in the meantime. When he learned she had no children he said "it's high time" and also asked questions about her financial situation. Anna cried when she left his office. Finally she got the prescription from another doctor after a 16-hour journey around the city. She had to pay for a private appointment.

There are hundreds of women like Anna in Poland every year. Doctors refuse to issue prescriptions, insult and judge patients, preach of morality and conscientious objection or refer patients to their private practice to make extra money on the side. Emergency contraception is not linked to any serious risks for health and life and more than 20 EU countries are already selling it over-the-counter. European Commission decided recently that also second generation emergency pills ought to be sold directly in pharmacies.

Representative of the Polish Health Ministry has stated that Poland would not apply EU recommendations. He believes that “getting a prescription is not that big an obstacle". Letters and information women have shared with organizations and media show quite the contrary. When you live in a small town or in the country it is usually impossible to get a doctor’s appointment quickly – waiting lists are long and you need to take a long trip to the clinic. When you're in a difficult situation, you won’t be able to afford and expensive private appointment and buying unsubsidized contraceptives which cost 15-30 EUR. When you are a teenager a doctor may refuse to give you prescription if you don’t have your parent’s or guardian’s consent. When you've experienced the trauma of rape getting a prescription on time may become an impossible barrier.

We demand the Ministry of Health of Poland to immediately implement European Commission recommendations and make emergency contraception available over-the counter. Examples from Western Europe show that the accessibility of family planning combined with good education contribute to the reduction in unwanted pregnancies. Making EC available without prescription would also mean less corruption and black market sales.

We refuse to be pawns in political and ideological games. Access to contraception is our right.

_______________________________________________________________________

Share the petition widely in your networks.

Source: Federation for Women and Family Planning

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