Livingstone Safe Abortion Care Charter

The Livingstone Safe Abortion Care Charter reaffirms the commitment of Obstetric and Gynaecological societies to strengthen access to safe abortion care for women and girls across Africa.

18 January 2023, Livingstone, Zambia

The Livingstone Safe Abortion Care Charter reaffirms the commitment of Obstetric and Gynaecological societies in their respective countries, to strengthen access to safe abortion care for women and girls. We will do this by creating enabling environments within which health systems function and health care professionals are empowered to meet the needs and entitlements of women and girls we serve.

Collectively, we pledge to leverage our clinical expertise and resources to address the scale of unsafe abortion in Africa.

The parties to this charter agree to:

  1. Strengthen access to safe abortion care through interventions that promote self-managed abortion care.
  2. Ensure access to safe abortion care is integrated as a key component within our professional society’s strategic mandate to deliver on sexual and reproductive health and rights. This includes integrating the need for safe abortion care within our sexual reproductive health activities and collating data on related abortion services to inform policies and programmes.
  3. Enhance the organisational and technical capacity of our national society, to advocate on safe and quality abortion care by ensuring our professional society has accessible guidance in place for our members and relevant stakeholders. We commit to ensuring this guidance is centred on up-to-date clinical advancements and human rights standards.
  4. Address abortion-related-stigma that nurtures hostile environments for health care advocates and denies women and girls access to quality abortion care by utilising tools such as values clarification and attitude transformation.
  5. Work with the World Health Organization, Ministries of Health and relevant stakeholders to prioritise the alignment of WHO’s Abortion care guideline (2022) and ensure training on safe abortion care is an essential part of professional development for health care professionals - integrate it into lifelong learning to ensure health services are universally available.
  6. Work on behalf of and with marginalized population groups at high risk of maternal mortality and morbidity, this includes young people/adolescents, by advocating for their right to access sexual reproductive health services and age-appropriate and evidence-based information.
  7. Advocate for the decriminalisation of abortion care and urge our governments to regulate it like any other health care provision. Decriminalising abortion refers to the removal of specific criminal and/or civil sanctions against abortion from the law, so that no one is punished for having, providing or supporting access to abortion.

If you are a representative of a national society in Africa, please contact [email protected] for further details on how your society can be part of this growing collaborative movement to strengthen and sustain access to safe abortion care.


Dr Emmanual Ewagnignon, Vice President, National College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians of Benin (CNGOB)

Prof Adolphe Some, President, Society of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians of Burkina (SOGOB)

Prof Emile Mboudou, President, Society of Gynecologists and Obstetricians of Cameroon (SOGOC)

Prof Serge Boni, President, Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Cote d’Ivoire (SOGOCI)

Dr Kireki Omanwa, President, Kenya Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society (KOGS)

Prof Youssouf Traore, President, Mali Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (SOMAGO)

Dr Hermengarda Pequino, President, Mowambican Association of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (AMOG)

Dr Victor Mivumbi, President, Rwanda Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RSOG)

Prof Dan Kaye, Executive Director, Association of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Uganda (AOGU)

Dr Swebby Macha, President, Zambia Association of Gynaecologists & Obstetricians (ZAGO)

Dr Abdulfetah Abdulkadir, Ethiopian Society of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ESOG)

Dr Gladys Membe-Gadama, Association of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Malawi (AOGM)

About FIGO

FIGO is a professional membership organisation that brings together more than 130 obstetrical and gynaecological associations from all over the world. FIGO’s vision is that women of the world achieve the highest possible standards of physical, mental, reproductive and sexual health and wellbeing throughout their lives. Our work to achieve this vision is built on four pillars: education, research implementation, advocacy and capacity building.

FIGO leads on global programme activities, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia. We advocate on a global stage, especially in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pertaining to reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and wellbeing, and non-communicable diseases (SDG3). We also work to raise the status of women and enable their active participation in achieving their reproductive and sexual rights, including through addressing female-genital mutilation (FGM) and gender-based violence (SDG5).

We also provide education and training for our Member Societies and build capacities of those in low-resource countries through strengthening leadership, translating and disseminating good practice and promoting policy dialogues.

FIGO is in official relations with the World Health Organization and a consultative status with the United Nations.

About the language we use

Within our documents, we often use the terms ‘woman’, ‘girl’ and ‘women and girls’. We recognise that not all people who require access to gynaecological and obstetric services identify as a woman or girl. All individuals, regardless of gender identity, must be provided with access to appropriate, inclusive and sensitive services and care.

We also use the term ‘family’. When we do, we are referring to a recognised group (perhaps joined by blood, marriage, partnership, cohabitation or adoption) that forms an emotional connection and serves as a unit of society.

FIGO acknowledges that some of the language we use is not naturally inclusive. We are undertaking a thorough review of the words and phrases we use to describe people, health, wellbeing and rights, to demonstrate our commitment to developing and delivering inclusive policies, programmes and services.

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Rob Hucker
Head of Communications, Engagement and Events

+44 (0) 7383 025 731