Reaching Those Whose Need is Greatest

Medical assistant Katerina Gogova treats people who inject drugs at Health Options Project Skopje drug support clinic. Credit: IPPF EN / Jon Spaull

IPPF EN is working to ensure no one is left behind, so that all young people can take care of their health, free from discrimination.

We are proud to have continued our work with marginalised young people in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, including sex workers, people who inject drugs, prisoners and men who have sex with men. They are particularly vulnerable to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections because they face many kinds of discrimination, stigma and violence which also make it extremely difficult for them to access care. 

In response to this abuse, in 2016 we worked with partners to create a new guide for developing and implementing programmes that provide HIV prevention services and sexual and reproductive health care to vulnerable young people. This draws on the extensive experience of the United Nations Population Fund, IPPF EN and other partners fighting to support these communities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

However, the health care that is provided to these young people by our members and other civil society organisations is at huge risk of being withdrawn because long term donor support for HIV programmes in the region is coming to an end, and states are not yet stepping in to provide a safety net. If these services are allowed to close, more young lives will be ruined.

Lila (not her real name) is a transgender sex worker in Skopje. She says she could never tell her family about her real life.
Lila (not her real name) is a transgender sex worker in Skopje. She says she could never tell her family about her real life. Photo credit: IPPF EN / Jon Spaull


We are providing support in crisis situations because sexual and reproductive health care saves lives in emergencies.

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by conflict, war, natural disasters and other humanitarian emergencies. They are often subjected to sexual violence and unwanted pregnancies and are vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections. Although their sexual and reproductive health needs are critical, in disaster situations they are often overlooked.

IPPF EN continues to support 19 countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to ensure that, when humanitarian crises strike, people are not denied at least a basic level of vital sexual and reproductive health care. In 2016, our region made great strides in strengthening coordination on sexual and reproductive health among national health actors, which is an essential step in preparing for emergency situations and securing commitment from governments.*

Many of our members are helping to protect the sexual and reproductive health and rights of refugee and migrant women and girls as the humanitarian crisis continues. In 2016, SRH Serbia worked in seven refugee camps to provide women – usually travelling with children or alone – with crucial information about where they could go for sexual and reproductive health care. They also organised sexuality education workshops and offered contraceptive care and counselling in safe spaces for 16-23 year olds living in the refugee camps.


Refugee crisis, Syria
More than half the refugees arriving in Europe are women and children. Around 1 in 10 refugee women travelling through Europe is pregnant, and around 1 in 5 refugee or displaced women has experienced sexual violence. Photo credit: UNFPA / Nate Batev