Understanding policymakers' perspectives: A critical factor in promoting reproductive health development progress in Ukraine

2008 2008

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

The international donor community, predominately the U.S. Government, has invested over $24 million in reproductive health programs in Ukraine, expressly to decrease abortion rates and increase the use of modern contraceptives. Yet, as of 2006, after over 12 years of reproductive health development programming, Ukraine still had one of the highest levels of abortion in the world and the use of modern contraceptives remained very low. In addition, broader international donor goals of building sustainable development programs had not been realized due to Ukrainian policymakers' indifference towards donor supported programs, demonstrated by their lack of financial support for reproductive health development initiatives in Ukraine.

This investigation reveals one significant reason that Ukrainian policymakers have essentially rejected reproductive health development programs over the past decade: distinct differences between international donors' and Ukrainian policymakers' social constructions and cultural meanings of reproductive health. From 2005-2006 this qualitative study surveyed 42 Ukrainian policymakers and interviewed an additional 42, comparing their feedback to 20 international donor participants working on reproductive health policy and programs in Ukraine. The research methodology was guided by the Policy Circle, the Health Belief Model, and the Theory of Planned Behavior, as well as political-economic and socio-cultural paradigms. Study feedback revealed distinct differences in definitions for reproductive health, cultural meanings of health services, and perceptions of gender. The data also revealed some agreement on perspectives of current reproductive health policy and issues in development. Also, research into donor attitudes challenges prevailing scholarly presuppositions that development is a homogenous movement.

This research suggests that both donor respondents and Ukrainian policymaker participants define reproductive health in fundamentally different ways. Essentially their reproductive health values and priorities are not closely aligned. Ukrainian policymakers are concerned with major demographic declines and they situate a woman's role as "mother first" of primary importance in Ukrainian society. These priorities appear to be in conflict with donors' goals of increasing modern contraception use in Ukraine. Unlike international donors, Ukrainian policymakers did not conceptualize of abortion within a moral framework; rather, their conceptions of reproductive health were embedded in the political-economic situation at the time.

Indexing (details)

Public health;
Political science
0573: Public health
0615: Political science
Identifier / keyword
Health and environmental sciences; Social sciences; Development; Gender; Policymaking; Population decline; Reproductive health; Ukraine
Understanding policymakers' perspectives: A critical factor in promoting reproductive health development progress in Ukraine
Waller, Kimberly Ann
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-B 69/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Cernada, George
Committee member
Gerber, Dan; Hemment, Julie
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Public Health
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.