Monday, January 12, 2015 | News

New from Ipas: Training guide for future health professionals

Spanish version now available also!

Young people studying to be health
professionals will become the leaders who shape women’s reproductive
health policies and services in the years to come. The problem: Abortion
is a critical but often neglected topic in health science education.

Designed with and for health sciences students, Youth act for safe abortion: A training guide for future health professionals
teaches the importance of safe abortion for women’s health and
rights—and provides strategies young people can use now to increase
access to safe abortion for women of all ages.

“In many countries, medical students are
not taught about unsafe abortion and the impact it has on women’s
rights and maternal health,” points out Joško Miše, former president of
the International Federation of Medical Student Associations (IFMSA), an
organization led by medical students and representing more than 120
national medical student associations in more than 100 countries. Health
sciences students therefore need special training materials on
comprehensive abortion care and ways to increase women’s—including young
women’s—access to safe services.

In 2013, Ipas and IFMSA began developing
a guide for training health sciences students—and other interested
audiences—on the importance of safe abortion access for women’s health.
Materials and activities in the guide address human rights, legal and
public health issues surrounding abortion and introduce advocacy
approaches. Intended as a versatile and adaptable resource, the guide
can be implemented as a three-day workshop or as shorter training
sessions and activities.

“Leaders in sexual and reproductive
health within IFMSA tested and refined all the activities and materials
in this guide by piloting the training at three different global and
regional IFMSA meetings attended by future doctors,” explains Karah
Pedersen, Ipas senior youth advisor. “Thanks to IFMSA’s extensive
involvement in developing this guide, we have great confidence in its
use and effectiveness for training tomorrow’s health professionals.”

Download the guide: www.ipas.org/youthact

Spanish version: www.ipas.org/jovenesabortoseguro

“A training like this is valuable and important for medical students quite simply because women around the world either die or are harmed by unsafe abortion, so promoting access to safe abortions is a very easy solution to prevent that.”

– Emily Stewart, University of Toronto medical student and IFMSA student trainer

Closer look: What’s in the guide?

Five learning modules provide students with a well-rounded introduction to safe abortion and surrounding issues:

1. Introduction to abortion
places abortion in the broader context of sexual and reproductive
health and explores how unsafe abortion affects women and societies.

2. Human rights, gender and abortion
discusses rights-based perspectives of abortion as well as gender
norms, discrimination and social factors that influence women’s abortion
rights and access.

3. Barriers to safe abortion and strategies to address them
presents barriers that women and adolescents encounter when seeking
safe abortion and identifies ways future and practicing health
professionals can reduce those obstacles.

4. Comprehensive abortion care
introduces essential elements of woman-centered comprehensive abortion
care, including counseling and safe abortion methods. Note: This
module—and this guide overall—demystifies clinical aspects of abortion
but does NOT prepare students for abortion service delivery.

5. Youth act for safe abortion provides various strategies for advancing abortion rights and increasing women’s access to safe services—and builds skills in advocacy, peer education and abortion accompaniment.

For more information, contact media@ipas.org