State-funded epidural anaesthesia to become available in Latvia

The initiative On pregnant women’s rights for free epidural anaesthesia has started its path in the Saeima. Finances will be put aside for this service from the state budget for 2022, as confirmed by
The author of the initiative Simona Dilāne comments: «I am very proud and happy from the bottom of my heart that we have managed to achieve this result. I have to say the support we received was palpable. The speed at which we collected the necessary number of signatures was indicative of just how prominent this problem is in Latvia. I am happy our cry was heard and that women will now have a choice that is not based only on their financial capabilities.»
It was previously reported that the government initially approved the allocation of more than EUR 420 000 towards the improvement of epidural anaesthesia and implementation of state-funded services for children on the autistic spectrum.
Considering the number of specialists practising this service in Latvia, their workload and capacity of healthcare institutions, as well as available financing, epidural anaesthesia is not available for every woman that wants it.
Medical guidelines for situations when epidural anaesthesia is recommended were developed in cooperation with Latvian Association of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians and Latvian Association of Anaesthesiologists and Resuscitators. This makes it possible to plan and predict the provision of this service.
Epidural anaesthesia is recommended in cases when the pregnant woman experiences systematic illnesses during pregnancy, if there is uncontrolled pregnancy hypertension/preeclampsia, problems with sugar metabolism – poor glycemic control, polyhydramnium, fetal macrosomy, obesity (body mass index over 40 kg/m2), uterine discoordination, multiple pregnancy, preterm birth (<34 weeks), fetal developmental abnormalities and other indications.
The decision regarding accessibility of this service was made based on the collective application submitted to the Saeima in May 2021.
In order to develop and improve the accessibility of both aforementioned services, the government will need to allocate about EUR 2.2 million annually.
The Saeima is currently in the process of reviewing proposals for the state budget 2022.