HEARD is currently working with the AIDS & Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA) in hosting a five-week online course around the access to safe abortion care in the region. Sixty participants were selected out of a competitive application process and include activists, health and legal aids workers from across Eastern and Southern Africa.

Researchers working within the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) programme at HEARD, in collaboration with ARASA, developed the course contents and materials. The course covers the latest evidence on the political, social and economic determinants of unsafe abortion and access to safe abortion care, burden of ill health due to complications of unsafe abortion, ethical considerations, barriers in access to care, and the impact of health crises and epidemics on safe abortion care, amongst other topics. Course materials consist of podcasts, animated powerpoint presentations, infographic narrative texts, and weekly assignments.

HEARD’s moderation of the course occurs on an interactive e-learning platform hosted by ARASA, and includes a discussion forum where participants and moderators can e-meet. Towards the end of the course, participants will be guided by both organisations to collect and review country specific information and to develop a plan of action for advocacy and monitoring of safe abortion care in their respective countries.

The course runs from 8 June-10 July 2020. Due to the overwhelming interest for the course, another course cycle may be offered later in the year.