Spreading the word: young people should benefit from free contraceptives in the Republic of Moldova
“Over the years, I’ve noticed a positive change in young people’s attitude towards their sexual and reproductive health and rights. They are less ashamed nowadays to claim quality sexual and reproductive healthcare services and claim their rights to be fulfilled in this regard”, says Dr. Svetlana Moroz, the Head of Youth Friendly Health Centre from Cimislia rayon of the Republic of Moldova.
Dr. Svetlana has more than 20 years of experience as family planning doctor in the Republic of Moldova. The experience accumulated over the years, as well the willingness to advance, helped her transform Cimislia Youth Friendly Health Centre into a model primary health care facility aiming at addressing the needs of young people. All young people aged 10-24 can benefit from medical consults and receive contraceptives free of charge at the Youth Friendly Health Centre. The staff works hard to ensure high quality of services, as well as confidentiality and anonymity for the young beneficiaries.
“We have adjusted the working hours of the Centre in order to offer the possibility for young people not to miss school if they need to visit a doctor. We are open every day from 4 to 9 p.m. and we even work on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon”, explains Dr. Moroz.
There are 40 Youth Friendly Health Centres in Moldova, one in every administrative district of the country and 5 in Chisinau. Instituted by the Ministry of Health, the Centers provide young people with counselling, information, sexual and reproductive health services, as well as other medical services. Besides the medical staff, every centre has a team of volunteers who are conducting information sessions and other activities for young people. UNFPA provides support to Youth Friendly Health Centers in terms of developing the peer-to-peer educators’ network, ensuring the young people’s access to the health and life-skills-based information.
The Youth Friendly Health Centre from Cimislia has 10 volunteers working together with the Centre medical staff and conducting information sessions in all the 19 schools in rayon, including the vocational training school.
“We have succeeded to visit every school two times this year. Moreover, we have started working with the parents and teachers. We are often conducting information sessions for parents, especially in villages”, says Dr. Svetlana Moroz.
Both services and information are very important, since young people from Moldova face poor access to integrated sexual and reproductive health services and health education. Only 35.7% of youth, aged 15-24 have comprehensive knowledge on HIV and only 49% of sexually active youth, aged 15-24 used a condom during last sexual intercourse. The adolescent birth rate in Moldova remains high in the European context since modern contraception is less available for adolescents and youth.
After several rounds of donations of contraceptives provided by UNFPA, in 2015 the Government of the Republic of Moldova took the ownership over the procurement of contraceptives from national resources and offering them free of charge to vulnerable groups. There are 7 types of groups, including all young people in Moldova who can benefit from free of charge contraceptives.
UNFPA Moldova is currently conducting a market research in Moldova for modern contraceptives use and the satisfaction of the needs of the vulnerable groups, including young people. The results of the analysis will help increase the capacity of primary health care facilities, including the Youth Friendly Health Clinics, to meet the needs and fulfil the fundamental right to take decisions regarding their health and lives.
Find the closest to you Youth Friendly Health Centre and find more about the services they can offer.