Preventing the abandonment of new-born babies

The Russian Ministry of Health publishes recommendations on the prevention of abandonment of new-born children

Moscow, 15.09.2014

The Ministry of Health has circulated recommendations to state organs in Russia’s regions on “The prevention of abandonment of new born babies in maternity wards”. The document was developed with the participation of NGOs, experts, and specialists from the Department of Medical Aid to Children and Obstetrics within the Ministry of Health.

The recommendations are destined for use in medical organisations which provide help to women during pregnancy, childbirth and the post-natal period. The material has been the result of continuous work on the analysis and systemisation of practical experience of state foundations and the structure of the non-commercial sector in Russia’s regions. The document was put together by various writers and experts including: Alexandra Marova, the director of the Fund for the Prevention of Orphanhood in Society (hereafter – the Fund); Sergei Borzov, the Programme Director at the Fund; Elena Alshanskaya, the President of the Charitable Fund “Volunteers in aid of Orphans”; Elena Klochko, the Vice-President of the Coordinated Council for Matters Concerning Disabled Children and Others with Limitations to their Daily Life in the National Civic Chamber.

The recommendations outline aims, mission and models for the prevention of abandonment of new-born children in maternity wards.

“We prepared this material in conjunction with our colleagues at the Ministry of Health, NGOs with regional experience, and practical work in situ over the last year. It is important that the document took into account the specific details of each region and helped to reflect the individual nature of the work in each instance in the corresponding approach. We wanted to express our gratitude to our colleagues from the Ministry of Health, who facilitated the publication of these documents and their distribution in the regions. I think that this is a significant step in the realisation of our mission to reduce the number of abandoned children in Russia,” said Marova.

“The recommendations presented by Russia’s Ministry of Health will significantly aid the organisation of unilateral work on the prevention of abandonment of new-borns in maternity wards. It is especially important that the recommendations are based on front-line experience in Russia, as it was developed in conjunction with leading experts, methodologists and practitioners, such as state organisations and NGOs,” noted the Deputy Director for the Organisation for Obstetrics and Medical Aid to Children at the Ministry of Health in Orenburg, Galina Cherepova.

The underlying message of the recommendations is that, in instances of abandonment of new-borns, medical specialists, in partnership with state and non-state services, should establish a procedure which will help a woman to make a conscious decision, said Alshanskaya. She revealed that disagreements arose between the experts when developing the recommendations over the most important aspect of the mission: the prevention of abandonment or encouraging women to make a conscious decision.

“We spoke about how a woman leaving her child is not the most important element, but rather helping a woman make a conscious choice. If she is not ready and does not want to bring up a child, she is not in a good position for motherhood; it is possible to try and dissuade her from leaving her child, but there is a chance she will nonetheless abandon it. Our position is not that the woman should be made to take the child home, but that she can be helped in making a conscious decision and be given the time to think about it. It should not be our aim to persuade her of anything. That would be risky,” continued Alshanskaya.

The recommendations can be found on the Fund website.

Author: Yulia Vyatkina

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