"Mindful of the fear of rescuing women before criminal abortions"

The 25 year old Gynecology Marjeta Boraj recounts the circumstantial methods used for abortions. Family planning methods were not known

Recalls the difficult moments when women wearing so-called criminal abortions lost their lives before the eyes of the white blouse. Even her colleagues have ended up in jail if they offered help to women seeking abortion.

So it was in our country before the 1990s, and today these restrictions are almost non-existent and women have many opportunities to avoid unplanned pregnancies without reaching abortion.

Gynecology at the 25-year maternity ward of Vlora, Marjeta Boraj tells in the interview for "Century" the conditions she worked with before the 90s and the conditions she works with today.

How many years of work do you have as a gynecologist?

I work for 25 years in the field of gynecology. With this work experience I worked on two systems even before the 90s and today. Changes in our country were accompanied by changes in health

Introducing family planning as a method to prevent unwanted pregnancies through the use of contraceptives and to create couples the opportunity to have children when they want and with the intervals they want in accordance with their economic and social conditions.

Can you tell how family planning methods were made before the 1990s, knowing that modern contraceptive methods did not exist?

Methods of family planning have entered Albania after the 90s. Before this period in Albania there were no methods of family planning or contraceptive methods because of the pro-Natalist policies that were at that time.

In my memory are preserved the criminal ways that women used to make an abortion which was also the criminal abortion. This abortion with circumstantial means has caused a very serious condition for women's health and their psychology.

Of these abortions we call provoked I can say that about 50 percent of these women have ended up in death.

What were the ways that used to abort?

They were the most terrible thing I would not remember. It was just circumstantial and criminal methods. Abortions with wires, knitting methods or even various substances that put women in their body to fail children who had been created without planning.

I can say that these methods brought to them very serious diseases, very serious conditions and in these conditions the appearance of these women in maternity was very severe even in the use of antibiotics that were then used and in the reanimative conditions of that time most of the women have ended up in death.

Doctor, your colleagues claim that before the 90s they were threatened with state sanctions if they committed abortions or even helped women who were seriously ill with medical help. Even some of your colleagues have ended up in jail for that reason.

Have you ever felt endangered?

Absolutely we and all my colleagues were in difficult positions. The abortion was carried out in illegal ways at that time and as such I said it was an action against the law. We were facing our mission to provide medical help and limitations that strictly enforced the law.

While today abortion is a surgical procedure that is legalized and performed in accordance with the rules issued by the Ministry of Health. This means that today the law that is about abortion is allowed to take up to 12 weeks with the desire of the couple.

Are there claims for women today for abortions even if they are more than 12 weeks pregnant? 
Yes, there are such requests, but this is in contravention of the law for not providing this service to public maternities. 
Relying on many years of experience as you see abortions are on the rise or their number has come to a standstill?

The number of abortions has come down for many reasons. This first relates to the introduction of contraceptive methods and family planning has caused abortions to decrease. It has also been influenced by the fact that a large part of younger ages have left the country and this has affected.

Other factors are social as the woman today is not a person who is to serve the family only in the home. She is in a position that actively participates in strengthening the economy of the home at work, in society and in career by bringing emancipation of women. Already, women are aware of and are no longer doing just ordinary work within the family but are active in society.

Do you think that there is still work to be done in our country to do with the information that women take for family planning to avoid abortion?

I have been working in the field of family planning for many years, and I have also collaborated with the Albanian Center for Population and Development.

This work has been done through trials, seminars or even conversations in the media in order to redirect education and communication with women of different social levels.

I can say that rural areas come from farms that do not have the right information, but family planning centers or even polyclinics and maternity have been trying to support as many women as possible for their information to know them well and use contraceptive methods.

Abortions should be avoided, endangering health

Abortion is dangerous to the health of a woman and can have many consequences to the need to be avoided. This was stated by gynecology, Marjata Boraj, who emphasized that for informing family planning methods, besides the centers that are available in the field of reproductive health, state bodies and the Ministry of Health and other non-governmental organizations should cooperate in this field.

Exactly about Family Planning Methods The Albanian Center for Population and Development has organized a 4 day training with doctors and specialists from different cities of the country by providing specialist Meri Khachikyan consultant at IPPF for family planning.

"It is good when we are offered the experience of foreign countries, as in the present case, as we learn about contraceptive methods, their effects, sexually transmitted infections or even abortions when they are inevitable", says Marjeta Boraj.

Health Centers, 
Mothers Information on Family Planning 
Mothers who attend health centers will now be provided with information on family planning.

The "Communication on Changing Behavior in Family Planning" program, supported by USAID, has already extended its activity to several health centers in the cities of Tirana and Kor├ža.

According to the specialist working under this program, Arian Boci's goal is to inform their mothers and their families about the importance of using contraceptive methods and family planning.

"Every day, consultants of this program go to health centers where they are in contact with new mothers who come to these centers to consult or receive the services of a child consultant," Boci says, adding that there were created and information angles with different materials family planning information, where people can get free and latest contraception information.

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