The Public Defender of Georgia has published a special report on the situation of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in psychiatric and state care institutions. The report is based on the monitoring conducted by the Public Defender with the support of the UNFPA Office in Georgia.
The purpose of the monitoring was to assess the situation of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in psychiatric and state care institutions.
The monitoring revealed a number of systemic problems that lead to violations of women"s sexual and reproductive health rights in psychiatric and public care institutions.
The country has no guidelines on treatment and care for women with mental health problems during pregnancy or childbirth. In addition, the medical staff is less guided by the minimum recommendations on reproductive health reflected in national guidelines.
The inspected institutions do not assess the sexual and reproductive health condition of women before the start of treatment with psychotropic drugs or monitor it during treatment. Access to laboratory tests is problematic for both psychiatric and state care institutions. Women placed in psychiatric facilities are not tested for possible pregnancy in time, while those, who have been placed in institutions for a long time, are not properly provided with gynecological services.
Women with mental health problems are not enrolled in the state screening programme for early detection of diseases (other than hepatitis C). The lack of access to breast and cervical cancer screening programmes is particularly problematic.
Medical staff, namely psychiatrists and gynecologists, have no adequate knowledge of the effects of psychotropic drugs on sexual and reproductive health or the correction options. In addition, patients/beneficiaries’ awareness of their sexual and reproductive health and rights is extremely They have no information about the adverse effects of prescribed psychotropic drugs, including the effects of drugs on sexual and reproductive health.
Consultations of gynecologists employed in inpatient psychiatric institutions are largely formal in nature and are limited to interviews and superficial examination.