This last week, I, along with three of my amazing RA’s and our lovely LRA Kelly Thompson, got the opportunity to attend a training of trainers on the topic of maternal health and access to safe abortion, hosted by the organization Ipas in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The training was part of a Memorandum of Understanding between Ipas and IFMSA, to hold trainings on these issues in three of our regions in IFMSA: Africa, EMR, and PAMSA. The training lasted for four days and I must say was one of the best trainings I have had the honor of attending in all my time in IFMSA, and here’s why.
The topic of safe abortion is not one to be taken lightly. For many people, it brings up a lot of ethical and religious issues. And way too often we choose to not even speak about it instead of treating it as a common medical procedure. So common in fact that 1 in every 3 women in the US will have such a procedure at least once in their lifetime. Not only that, in 2008, 22 million women underwent an unsafe abortion with a reported 47,000 deaths and 5 million women suffering from disabilities. The problem is real and the fact is that it is 100% preventable. By providing proper safe abortion procedures, these women can be saved. And it all starts with opening a discussion. So that’s exactly what we did, for four days we discussed with the amazing people at Ipas how we can best give a workshop about safe abortion within the IFMSA. And I must say that I was very impressed with the results and couldn’t be more excited to see the outcomes of these three pre-RM workshops. Ipas is an organization with more than 40 years experience in the field of maternal heath and safe abortion and they work on the ground in almost every continent. They face challenges and stigmatization every day to make sure that any woman who wants such a procedure can get it done in a safe and healthy environment. Their work is utterly inspiring and am so excited that we get to embark on this joint venture with them. Furthermore, the outcomes of these workshops will be used to finalize a joint training guide between Ipas and IFMSA SCORA!So I encourage anyone who is interested in working on this issue to please attend the RM workshops. And for those of you unable to attend a RM, then we will for sure be discussing this more within the upcoming March Meeting in Tunisia!