HD-Background Selector

2011 In Review

Forty per cent of the world's women are living in countries with restrictive abortion laws, which prohibit abortion or only allow abortion to protect a woman's life or her physical or mental health. In countries where abortion is restricted, women have to resort to clandestine interventions to have an unwanted pregnancy terminated. As a consequence, high rates of unsafe abortion are seen, such as in Sub-Saharan Africa where unsafe abortion occurs at rates of 18-39 per 1 000 women. The circumstances under which women obtain unsafe abortion vary and depend on traditional methods known and types of providers present. Health professionals are prone to use instrumental procedures to induce the abortion, whereas traditional providers often make a brew of herbs to be drunk in one or more doses. In countries with restrictive abortion laws, high rates of maternal death must be expected, and globally an estimated 66,500 women die every year as a result of unsafe abortions. In addition, a far larger number of women experience short- and long-term health consequences. To address the harmful health consequences of unsafe abortion, a post-abortion care model has been developed and implemented with success in many countries where women do not have legal access to abortion. post-abortion care focuses on treatment of incomplete abortion and provision of post-abortion contraceptive services. To enhance women's access to post-abortion care, focus is increasingly being placed on upgrading midlevel providers to provide emergency treatment as well as implementing misoprostol as a treatment strategy for complications after unsafe abortion.

Restrictive abortion laws are, perhaps correctly, blamed for the high mortality and morbidity associated with unsafe abortion in low-income countries. Induced abortion is illegal in Nigeria, except for strict medical indications certified by at least 2 doctors. Legalization could enable women with unwanted pregnancies to procure safe induced abortions from health facilities; however, abortions performed by caregivers in private health facilities may not be entirely safe—consistent with clinical experience and previous studies from Nigeria in which physicians at private hospitals were implicated by patients in a significant proportion of complicated induced abortions.

2016 In Article

"Background: Treatment costs of induced abortion complications can consume a substantial amount of hospital resources. This use of hospitals scarce resources to treat induced abortion complications may affect hospitals’ capacities to deliver other health care services. In spite of the importance of studying the burden of the treatment of induced abortion complications, few studies have been conducted to document the costs of treating abortion complications in Burkina Faso. Our objective was to estimate the costs of six abortion complications including incomplete abortion, hemorrhage, shock, infection/sepsis, cervix or vagina laceration, and uterus perforation treated in two public referral hospital facilities in Ouagadougou and the cost saving of providing safe abortion care services. Methods: The distribution of abortion-related complications was assessed through a review of postabortion care-registers combined with interviews with key informants in maternity wards and in hospital facilities. Two structured questionnaires were used for data collection following the perspective of the hospital. The first questionnaire collected information on the units and the unit costs of drugs and medical supplies used in the treatment of each complication. The second questionnaire gathered information on salaries and overhead expenses. All data were entered in a spreadsheet designed for studying abortion, and analyses were performed on Excel 2007. Results: Across six types of abortion complications, the mean cost per patient was USD45.86. The total cost to these two public referral hospital facilities for treating the complications of abortion was USD22,472.53 in 2010 equivalent to USD24,466.21 in 2015. Provision of safe abortion care services to women who suffered from complications of unsafe induced abortion and who received care in these public hospitals would only have cost USD2,694, giving potential savings of more than USD19,778.53 in that year. Conclusions: The treatment of the complications of abortion consumes a significant proportion (up to USD22,472.53) of the two public hospitals resources in Burkina Faso. Safe abortion care services may represent a cost beneficial alternative, as it may have saved USD19,778.53 in 2010. "

2014 In Article

Improving the care of women who have undergone a spontaneous or induced abortion is an important step in reducing abortion-related morbidity and mortality. Both the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) and the World Health Organization recommend the use of manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and misoprostol rather than sharp curettage to treat incomplete abortion. MVA was introduced into the public healthcare service in Benin in 2006 and since 2008 misoprostol has been available in 3 large maternity hospitals. The present study opted to use an oral dose of 800 mug and Not to limit to pregnancies of up to 12 weeks, but to include women with second trimester abortions. After 5 years, results show that around three-quarters of the women treated with misoprostol at 13-18 weeks of pregnancy required MVA to complete uterine evacuation and approximately one-quarter had severe bleeding, confirming that the indication of misoprostol for incomplete abortion should be limited to pregnancies of up to 12 weeks.

2014 In Article

BACKGROUND: Complications of clandestine abortions increase with gestational age. The aim of this study was to identify complications of second trimester clandestine abortions (STA) and those of first trimester clandestine abortions (FTA).
METHODS: This retrospective descriptive study was conducted between March 1st and August 31st, 2012 in the University Teaching Hospital and the Central Hospital, Yaoundé (Cameroon). The files of women with clandestine abortions carried out outside our units, but received in our settings for some complications were reviewed. Variables studied were maternal age, parity, marital status, gestational age at the time of abortion, the abortion provider and the method used, the duration of antibiotic coverage, the time interval between abortion and consultation, the complications presented and the duration of hospital stay. Data of 20 women with STA (≥13 weeks 1 day) and those of 74 women with FTA (≤13 complete weeks) were analyzed and compared. The t-test was used to compare continuous variables. P value RESULTS: Women with STA had high parities (P = 0.0011). STAs were mostly performed by nurses and were usually done by dilatation and curettage or dilatation and evacuation, manual vacuum aspiration, intramuscular injection of an unspecified medication, transcervical foreign body insertion, amniotomy and misoprostol. STA complications were severe anemia, hypovolemic shock, uterine perforation and maternal death.
CONCLUSIONS: Clandestine abortions, especially second trimester abortions, are associated with risks of maternal morbidity and mortality especially when done by nurses. Therefore, women should seek for help directly from trained health personnel (Gynecologists & Obstetricians). Moreover, nurses should be trained in uterine evacuation procedures. They should also refer women who want to carry out STA to Gynecologists and Obstetricians. Finally, to reduce the prevalence of abortion in general, the government should make contraception available to all women, as well as use public media to sensitize women on the dangers of abortion and on the need to use family planning services.

2012 In Review

The objective of the study was to review the implementation of post-abortion Care and effective linkage to other post-abortion services in Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Nigeria. Data on PAC over a five year period (July, 2004 to June, 2009) were analyzed and a standardized questionnaire was administered to 45 direct PAC service providers. Abortion complications constituted 41.4% of all Gynaecological admissions. Maternal mortality from complications of abortion was 11.5% of all the maternal mortality at the centre. Women aged 19 years and less were 37 (7.1%) and single women were 132, constituting 25.3% of all cases. About 31% of the PAC care providers had formal training for the implementation of the PAC services. Fifteen percent of the care givers were satisfied with the linkage between PAC and the Family Planning services. There is poor integration between emergency post-abortion care and other reproductive health services in the centre.

2006 In Article

Data on abortion in sub-Saharan Africa are rare and Non-representative. This study presents a new method to collect quantitative data on clandestine abortion, the confidants method, applied in 2001 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Preliminary qualitative work showed that individuals are aware of their close friends' induced abortions: women usually talk to their peers about the unintended pregnancy and ask them for help in locating illegal abortion providers. In a survey of 963 women of reproductive age representative of the city of Ouagadougou, we asked respondents to list their close relations, and, for each of them, and for each of the 5 years preceding the survey, whether they had an induced abortion. According to these data, there are 40 induced abortions per 1000 women aged 15-49 in Ouagadougou annually, and 60 per 1000 women aged 15-19. Adverse health consequences followed 60% of the reported induced abortions, and 14% of them received treatment in a hospital. Extrapolating these results to the entire city, we estimate that its hospitals treat about 1000 cases of abortion complications a year. Hospital data indicate that these centers admitted 984 induced abortions (adding all "certainly", "probably" and "possibly" induced abortions in the WHO protocol) in 2001; the age distribution of patients admitted for induced abortion also corresponds to the confidants method's projections ("certainly" induced abortions only). At least two biases could affect the abortion rates estimated by the confidants method, pertaining to the selection of the sample of relations and to the varying number of third parties involved in the abortion process. The confidants method, which is similar in its principle to the sisterhood method used to estimate maternal mortality levels, might generate accurate estimates of illegal abortion in certain contexts if these two biases are controlled for. Further testing is necessary.

2016 In Article

Background: Complications of induced abortion remains high in developing countries and among the leading causes of maternal mortality, especially in Nigeria where abortion law is restrictive. Objective: To determine the prevalence, sociodemographic characteristics, and complications of induced abortion. Furthermore, to determine the contribution of induced abortion to maternal mortality in our center. Materials and Methods: This was a retrospective study of cases of induced abortion managed in our center between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2014. Data analysis was performed using Epi-info version 3.3.2. Frequencies and percentages were calculated. Results: The prevalence of induced abortion was 14.6% of all gynecological admissions. There were a total of 92 maternal deaths during the study period, and 21 of the deaths were due to induced abortions. Induced abortion constitutes 22.8% of maternal mortality during the period and a case fatality rate of 4.0%. The women mostly affected were teenagers (53.92%); single women (64.5%), and nulliparous women (64.79%). Quacks' were responsible in 41.45% of the abortions whereas orthodox doctors performed abortions in 21.13% of cases. The most common complications were sepsis (64.59%) and hemorrhage (40.64%). Conclusion: Complications of induced abortion remains a very common health challenge and a significant cause of maternal morbidity and mortality in our environment. There is a need to stop this ugly problem by improving the reproductive health system and liberalization of abortion law in Nigeria.