Family Planning and Reproductive Health

The demographic policy is based on the principle of freedom of parents to decide the size of their family. The contraceptives are provided through governmental services and by non-governmental private sources.

The first state family planning center was founded in 1992. Its main functions are, as follows:
  - consultative aid in questions of sexual behaviour,
  - prevention of unwanted pregnancies,
  - help to choose contraceptive methods,
  - prevention of sexually transmitted diseases,
  - detection and treatment of male and female infertility.

The first private family center was founded in 1992, which, in addition to the state center activities, was engaged in providing of psychological aid to families, teenagers, abused children. Secondary schools were gradually joining the national family planning programme.

In 1993 two decisions of the Council of Ministers on assignment of financial resources in order to improve family planning and to reduce the number of abortions were passed. In 1994 the Latvian family planning and sexual health association ("Papardes zieds") was founded.

On June 6, 1994 the State family health center was established whose main task is to organize and carry out a medical, scientific and postgraduate educational work in the planning and sanation of family. In order to render medically-genetic assistance to population the State medically-genetic center has been founded in Latvia.

At the beginning of 1994 four centres of perinatal care have been established in different state regions: in Riga, Liepaja, Valmiera and Jekabpils whose task is to insure a medical help for pregnant women of high risk, parturient women, new-borns, puerperae. Patients' register of sexually-transmitted and skin infectious diseases has been established in Latvia. It consists of the centers of sexually-transmitted and skin infectious diseases established by the State and Riga city which were founded in 1973. They perform preventive and epidemiological supervision measures as well as follow-up care, treatment and psyhosocial rehabilitation.

In Latvia a law on Reproductive health has been worked out and in 1996 had been adopted in the first reading in Saeima (Parliament). The law consists of five chapters: abortion, medical abortion, contraception, sterilization and artificial fructification. A regulation on care screening diagnostics of pregnant women and new-borns had been developed and issued by the Ministry of Welfare on November 20, 1995 which determines the care of pregnant women according to European standards. Also a "Mother's passport" has been developed and implemented in which the observations on all pregnancies of the corresponding woman and observations during deliveries are recorded.

In 1996 at the Center on health statistics, informatics and medical technology a register on new-borns was established in which the received data from all departments of deliveries were summarized.

Since 1997 Latvia in taking part in project of WHO "Quality of perinatal care development" and in international perinatal audit of the Nordic countries organized by WHO in which the death causes of new-borns intranaly perished are analyzed.

In 1997 the Ministry of Welfare together with UNDP realized a project "On reproductive health survey in Latvia". During the survey a total of 4,568 individuals were interviewed, including 2,990 women and 1578 men of reproductive age (15-45 years).

A significant work of population education in the sphere of reproductive health is performed by the Health promotion center of Latvia which was established in 1996. Already for the second year a project "Promotion of mother's and child's health" is functioning, the design of training programme on sex education for different classes continues.

In Latvia many non-governmental organizations - association of obstetrics, association of sexual health and family planning of Latvia "Papardes zieds", association of contraceptology and etc. are functioning.