HD-Background Selector

2017 In Article

Safe abortion is not only a matter of law and policy. It is not sought in a vacuum. There are socio-cultural dimensions that inform decisions to seek termination of pregnancy. Where education and employment are not easily accessible, young women and girls are pushed towards early marriage. Where violence against women is rife, this increases the risk of unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortion. Understanding these societal dimensions of reproductive health care ensures a holistic approach to the challenges that impede its full realisation. This paper examines the framework that regulates the right to abortion and the inherent deficiencies in that law. The constitutional provisions on safe abortion are explored particularly in terms of the extent to which they improve the legal framework and create opportunities for actualising the right.

2017 In Article

BACKGROUND: Every year, an estimated 19–20 million unsafe abortions take place, almost all in developing countries, leading to 68,000 deaths and millions more injured many permanently. Many women throughout the world, experience more than one abortion in their lifetimes. Repeat abortion is an indicator of the larger problem of unintended pregnancy. This study aimed to identify determinants of repeat abortion in Tigray Region, Ethiopia.                      METHODS: Unmatched case–control study was conducted in hospitals in Tigray Region, northern Ethiopia, from November 2014 to June 2015. The sample included 105 cases and 204 controls, recruited from among women seeking abortion care at public hospitals. Clients having two or more abortions (“repeat abortion”) were taken as cases and those who had a total of one abortion were taken as controls (“single abortion”). Cases were selected consecutive based on proportional to size allocation while systematic sampling was employed for controls. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 20.0. Binary and multiple variable logistic regression analyses were calculated with 95% CI.                                                                                                                    RESULTS: Mean age of cases was 24 years (±6.85) and 22 years (±6.25) for controls. 79.0% of cases had their sexual debut in less than 18 years of age compared to 57% of controls. 42.2% of controls and 23.8% of cases cited rape as the reason for having an abortion. Study participants who did not understand their fertility cycle and when they were most likely to conceive after menstruation (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.0, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.1–3.7), having a previous abortion using medication (AOR = 3.3, CI: 1.83, 6.11), having multiple sexual partners in the preceding 12 months (AOR = 4.4, CI: 2.39,8.45), perceiving that the abortion procedure is not painful (AOR = 2.3, CI: 1.31,4.26), initiating sexual intercourse before the age of 18 years (AOR = 2.7, CI: 1.49, 5.23) and disclosure to a third-party about terminating the pregnancy (AOR = 2.1, CI: 1.2,3.83) were independent predictors of repeat abortion.                                                                                                                                                                                               CONCLUSION: This study identified several factors correlated with women having repeat abortions. It may be helpful for the Government of Ethiopia to encourage women to delay sexual debut and decrease their number of sexual partners, including by promoting discussion within families about sexuality, to decrease the occurrence of repeated abortion.

2017 In Article

BACKGROUND: Unmet need for contraception in several sub-Saharan African countries, including Ghana, remains high, with implications for unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortion, associated maternal morbidity and mortality. In this paper, we analysed for any associations between unmet/met need for contraception and the prevalence of abortion.                                                                                                                                                  METHODS: The paper utilizes the 2014 Ghana Demographic Health Survey dataset. Applying descriptive statistics initially, and later, a binary logistic regression, we estimate two different models, taking into account, unmet/met need for contraception (Model 1) and a multivariable one comprising socioeconomic, spatial, cultural and demographic behaviour variables (Model 2) to test the associations between unmet/met need for contraception in Ghana.            RESULTS: One-fourth (25%) of sampled women in 2014 had ever had an abortion. The bivariate results showed that women who reported “no unmet” considerably tended to report abortion more than the reference category – not married and no sex in the last 30 days. The elevated odds among respondents who indicated “no unmet need” persisted even after controlling for all the relevant confounders. Relatedly, unlike women with an unmet need for spacing, women who desired to limit childbearing had a slightly higher tendency to report an abortion.                                                            CONCLUSION: The linkage between unmet need for contraception appears more complex, particularly when the connections are explored post-abortion. Thus, while an abortion episode is most likely due to unintended pregnancy, contraception may still not be used, after an abortion, probably because of failure, side effects or simply, a dislike for any method.

2017 In Article

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to describe the attitudes toward abortion of Ghanaian University students and to determine factors which are associated with supporting a woman's right to an abortion.                                                                                                                                                       METHODS: This cross-sectional survey was administered to residential students at the University of Cape Coast. Participants were posed a series of 26 statements to determine to what extent they were supportive of abortion as a woman's right. An exploratory factor analysis was used to create a scale with the pertinent factors that relate to abortion attitudes and a multivariable linear regression model explored the relationships among significant variables noted during exploratory factor analysis.                                                                                                                                                                        RESULTS: 1038 students completed the survey and these students had a generally negative view of abortion. Two factors emerged: (1) the Abortion as a Right scale consisted of five questions (α = .755) and (2) the Moral Objection to Abortion scale consisted of three questions (α = .740). In linear regression, being older (β = 1.9), sexually experienced (β = 1.2), having a boyfriend/girlfriend (β = 1.4), and knowing someone who has terminated a pregnancy (β = 1.1) were significantly associated with a more liberal view of a right to an abortion.                                                                                             DISCUSSION: This work supports the idea that students who have personal exposure to an abortion experience hold more liberal views on abortion than those who have not had a similar exposure.

2017 In Article

BACKGROUND: Although abortion is technically legal in Zambia, the reality is far more complicated. This study describes the process and results of galvanizing access to medical abortion where abortion has been legal for many years, but provision severely limited. It highlights the challenges and successes of scaling up abortion care using implementation science to document 2 years of implementation.                                                                                     METHODS: An intervention between the Ministry of Health, University Teaching Hospital and the international organization Ipas, was established to introduce medical abortion and to address the lack of understanding and implementation of the country’s abortion law. An implementation science model was used to evaluate effectiveness and glean lessons for other countries about bringing safe and legal abortion services to scale. The intervention involved the provision of Comprehensive Abortion Care services in 28 public health facilities in Zambia for a 2 year period, August 2009 to September 2011. The study focused on three main areas: building health worker capacity in public facilities and introducing medical abortion, working with pharmacists to provide improved information on medical abortion, and community engagement and mobilization to increase knowledge of abortion services and rights through stronger health system and community partnerships.                                                                                                                                                                           RESULTS: After 2 years, 25 of 28 sites provided abortion services, caring for more than 13,000 women during the intervention. For the first time, abortion was decentralized, 19% of all abortion care was performed in health centers. At the end of the intervention, all providing facilities had managers supportive of continuing legal abortion services. When asked about the impact of medical abortion provision, a number of providers reported that medical abortion improved their ability to provide affordable safe abortion. In neighboring pharmacies only 19% of mystery clients visiting them were offered misoprostol for purchase at baseline, this increased to 47% after the intervention. Despite progress in attitudes towards abortion clients, such as empathy, and improved community engagement, the evaluation revealed continuing stigma on both provider and client sides.                                                                                    CONCLUSION: These findings provide a case study of the medical abortion introduction in Zambia and offer important lessons for expanding safe and legal abortion access in similar settings across Africa. "

2017 In Article

Unsafe abortion is a significant but preventable cause of maternal mortality. Although induced abortion has been legal in Zambia since 1972, many women still face logistical, financial, social, and legal obstacles to access safe abortion services, and undergo unsafe abortion instead. This study provides the first estimates of costs of post abortion care (PAC) after an unsafe abortion and the cost of safe abortion in Zambia. In the absence of routinely collected data on abortions, we used multiple data sources: key informant interviews, medical records and hospital logbooks. We estimated the costs of providing safe abortion and PAC services at the University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka and then projected these costs to generate indicative cost estimates for Zambia. Due to unavailability of data on the actual number of safe abortions and PAC cases in Zambia, we used estimates from previous studies and from other similar countries, and checked the robustness of our estimates with sensitivity analyses. We found that PAC following an unsafe abortion can cost 2.5 times more than safe abortion care. The Zambian health system could save as much as US$0.4 million annually if those women currently treated for an unsafe abortion instead had a safe abortion.

2013 In Article

In Ghana, despite the availability of safe, legally permissible abortion services, high rates of morbidity and mortality from unsafe abortion persist. Through interviews with Ghanaian physicians on the front lines of abortion provision, we begin to describe major barriers to widespread safe abortion. Their stories illustrate the life-threatening impact that stigma, financial restraints, and confusion regarding abortion law have on the women of Ghana who seek abortion. They posit that the vast majority of serious abortion complications arise in the setting of clandestine or self-induced second trimester attempts, suggesting that training greater numbers of physicians to perform second trimester abortion is prerequisite to reducing maternal mortality. They also recognized that an adequate supply of abortion providers alone is a necessary but insufficient step toward reducing death from unsafe abortion. Rather, improved accessibility and cultural acceptability of abortion are integral to the actual utilization of safe services. Their insights suggest that any comprehensive plan aimed at reducing maternal mortality must consider avenues that address the multiple dimensions which influence the practice and utilization of safe abortion, especially in the second trimester.

2015 In Article

Issues of abortion are critical in Ghana largely due to its consequences on sexual and reproductive health. The negative perception society attaches to it makes it difficult for young females to access services and share their experiences. This paper examines the pre and post-abortion experiences of young females; a subject scarcely researched in the country. Twenty-one clients of Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) clinic at Cape Coast were interviewed. Guided by the biopsychosocial model, the study revealed that fear of societal stigma, shame, and rejection by partners, as well as self-imposed stigma constituted some of the pre and post-abortion experiences the respondents. Other experiences reported were bleeding, severe abdominal pain and psychological pain. The Ghana Health Services (GHS) and other service providers should partner the PPAG clinic to integrate psychosocial treatment in its abortion services while intensifying behaviour change communication and community-based stigma-reduction education in the Metropolis.

2016 In Article

"BACKGROUND: Even in countries where the abortion law is technically liberal, the full application of the law has been delayed due to resistance on the part of providers to offer services. Ghana has a liberal law, allowing abortions for a wide range of indications. The current study sought to investigate factors associated with midwifery students' reported likelihood to provide abortion services. METHODS: Final-year students at 15 public midwifery training colleges participated in a computer-based survey. Demographic and attitudinal variables were tested against the outcome variable, likely to provide comprehensive abortion care (CAC) services, and those variables found to have a significant association in bivariate analysis were entered into a multivariate model. Marginal effects were assessed after the final logistic regression was conducted. RESULTS:A total of 853 out of 929 eligible students enrolled in the 15 public midwifery schools took the survey, for a response rate of 91.8%. In multivariate regression analysis, the factors significantly associated with reported likeliness to provide CAC services were having had an unplanned pregnancy, currently using contraception, feeling adequately prepared, agreeing it is a good thing women can get a legal abortion and having been exposed to multiple forms of education around surgical abortion. DISCUSSION: Midwifery students at Ghana's public midwifery training colleges report that they are likely to provide CAC. Ensuring that midwives-in-training are well trained in abortion services, as well as encouraging empathy in these students, may increase the number of providers of safe abortion care in Ghana."