What We Do › Women's Health
“The value of AIHA’s Women’s Wellness Centers is that, besides delivering qualify midwifery services, the staff can counsel patients on a wide range of issues, including family planning and the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, as well as offer assistance in solving problems related to family violence. Just a couple of years ago, all of this would have been extraordinary for Moldova.”
Ion Ababii, rector of the Nicolae Testemitanu State University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Chisinau, Moldova (Chisinau/Minneapolis and Chisinau/Norfolk partnerships)
In the years following the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the already incomplete and fragmented healthcare services that previously existed for women eroded further, leaving huge gaps in coverage for many of the nearly 180 million women living in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
The transition to a market economy and breakdown of state-supported social and health systems resulted in a decrease in economic self-sufficiency for millions of women, according to studies conducted by UNICEF. This financial instability—coupled with increased rates of tobacco use, alcohol and drug abuse, unsafe sexual practices, intimate partner violence, and a host of other medical and behavioral concerns—has led to reduced life expectancy for women in more than half of the countries in the region.
Since 1997, AIHA and our partners have sought to fundamentally change both the way women’s health is viewed and how clients are treated in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Drawing on the strength of existing hospital-based partnerships, AIHA brought together key medical professionals, educators, and policymakers to form the Women’s Health Task Force.
Members of the Task Force participated in a series of workshops and meetings to build consensus on priorities and approaches for attaining universal goals such as reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, screening for diseases ranging from diabetes to breast cancer, and educating patients on healthy lifestyles. The Task Force also worked to formulate a women’s wellness program and create a model for centers that provide access to a wide range of clinical services and educational outreach programs.
AIHA’s efforts to improve the scope and availability of high-quality women’s health services are carried out through specific programmatic activities, including:
Launched in early 2009, this three-year USAID-supported partnership project is designed to improve the health of women and children in Kosovo by strengthening maternal and child healthcare capacity at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. Read more...
Women's Wellness Centers
Since 1997, AIHA partners have established Women’s Wellness Centers in some 30 communities throughout Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. These innovative centers represent a new, integrated model of women’s health service delivery in the region. Women’s Wellness Centers feature a client-centered approach and provide a full range of reproductive health, primary care, and selected specialty care services, including breast cancer education, prevention, early detection, and treatment or referral to an appropriate tertiary care facility. Read more...
Primary Healthcare Partnerships
Through its expansive network of healthcare partnerships in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, AIHA has helped establish some 70 primary care, family medicine, and women’s wellness centers that provide comprehensive, high-quality clinical care to thousands of women each year. Read more...
Breast Health Program
A key component of AIHA’s women’s health model is educating patients so they are better able to take an active part in their own wellbeing. This is evident in AIHA’s Breast Health Program, which not only provides clinical exams, but also focuses on teaching the basics of self-examination and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices. Additionally, as part of the Breast Health Program, some Women’s Wellness Centers have been equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and offer both ultrasound and mammography screening to patients who are self- or physician-referred. Read more...
Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV
Mother-to-child transmission is the primary route of HIV infection among children around the globe. Without intervention, an HIV-infected mother has a more than 30 percent chance of passing the virus on to her baby during her pregnancy or birth, or via breast milk after the child is born. Since 2000, AIHA has been training practitioners to prevent vertical transmission and helping raise public awareness—especially among vulnerable or high-risk populations—about treatment options. Read more...
Women's Health Information Resources
Disseminating accurate, timely information rooted in evidence-based practices and sharing successful models and lessons learned plays an important role in AIHA’s strategy for sustainable healthcare programs. For more information about women’s health programs, please visit the following links: