HD-Background Selector

2016 In Article

Contraception is an essential element of high-quality abortion care. However, women seeking abortion often leave health facilities without receiving contraceptive counselling or methods, increasing their risk of unintended pregnancy. This paper describes contraceptive uptake in 319,385 women seeking abortion in 2326 public-sector health facilities in eight African and Asian countries from 2011 to 2013. Ministries of Health integrated contraceptive and abortion services, with technical assistance from Ipas, an international non-governmental organisation. Interventions included updating national guidelines, upgrading facilities, supplying contraceptive methods, and training providers. We conducted unadjusted and adjusted associations between facility level, client age, and gestational age and receipt of contraception at the time of abortion. Overall, post-abortion contraceptive uptake was 73%. Factors contributing to uptake included care at a primary-level facility, having an induced abortion, first-trimester gestation, age ≥25, and use of vacuum aspiration for uterine evacuation. Uptake of long-acting, reversible contraception was low in most countries. These findings demonstrate high contraceptive uptake when it is delivered at the time of the abortion, a wide range of contraceptive commodities is available, and ongoing monitoring of services occurs. Improving availability of long-acting contraception, strengthening services in hospitals, and increasing access for young women are areas for improvement.

2016 In Article

Youth report embarrassment, cost, and poor access as barriers to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. Interventions to address barriers like youth friendly services have yet to conclusively demonstrate impact on protective behaviours like condom or contraceptive use. SRH encompasses a range of services so we aimed to assess how perceived barriers differed depending on the service being sought between common services accessed by young people: HIV/STI testing, abortion, and contraception. 1203 Ghanaian youth were interviewed. Data was analysed to identify barriers by service type, demographics, and between high and low HIV prevalence communities. Being embarrassed or shy was the most commonly reported barrier across services. Overall being embarrassed or shy, fear of safety, fear of family finding out and cost were the most reported barriers across all services. Further analysis by service indicated that being embarrassed was a significantly greater barrier for HIV/STI testing and contraception when compared with abortion (p<0.001) and safety concerns and cost were significantly greater barriers for abortion and contraception compared with HIV/STI testing (p0.001). Efforts to develop interventions that consider the service being sought may help address the range of barriers faced by youth with diverse SRH needs.

2012 In Editorial

For women in Africa, access to modern methods of contraception, safe abortion, and other aspects of reproductive health care is, quite simply, a matter of life and death, as well as a basic human right. In my medical career and my work in international women's health over the past 42 years, mostly in Africa, I have personally witnessed or heard from colleagues many tragic stories of women dying painful deaths that were wholly preventable through known technologies for the provision of safe abortion care. To remedy this injustice, healthcare professionals, members of the global community, and women's leaders everywhere must undertake a concerted effort to accelerate movement from rhetoric to action. Lofty conference declarations are no longer enough.

2016 In Article

"BACKGROUND: Unsafe abortion is a leading cause of death among young women aged 10-24 years in sub-Saharan Africa. Although having multiple induced abortions may exacerbate the risk for poor health outcomes, there has been minimal research on young women in this region who have multiple induced abortions. The objective of this study was therefore to assess the prevalence and correlates of reporting a previous induced abortion among young females aged 12-24 years seeking abortion-related care in Kenya. METHODS: We used data on 1,378 young women aged 12-24 years who presented for abortion-related care in 246 health facilities in a nationwide survey conducted in 2012. Socio-demographic characteristics, reproductive and clinical histories, and physical examination assessment data were collected from women during a one-month data collection period using an abortion case capture form. RESULTS: Nine percent (n = 98) of young women reported a previous induced abortion prior to the index pregnancy for which they were receiving care. Statistically significant differences by previous history of induced abortion were observed for area of residence, religion and occupation at bivariate level. Urban dwellers and unemployed/other young women were more likely to report a previous induced abortion. A greater proportion of young women reporting a previous induced abortion stated that they were using a contraceptive method at the time of the index pregnancy (47 %) compared with those reporting No previous induced abortion (23 %). Not surprisingly, a greater proportion of young women reporting a previous induced abortion (82 %) reported their index pregnancy as unintended (Not wanted at all or mistimed) compared with women reporting No previous induced abortion (64 %). CONCLUSIONS: Our study results show that about one in every ten young women seeking abortion-related care in Kenya reports a previous induced abortion. Comprehensive post-abortion care services targeting young women are needed. In particular, post-abortion care service providers must ensure that young clients receive contraceptive counseling and effective pregnancy prevention methods before discharge from the health care facility to prevent unintended pregnancies that may result in subsequent induced abortions."

2010 In Article

An estimated 60% of all adolescent pregnancies in low-income countries are unintended. The present study was carried out at the university hospital in Lusaka, Zambia over a four-month period in 2005. The aim was to explore experiences of pregnancy loss and to ascertain the girl's contraceptive knowledge and use and their partner's involvement in the pregnancy/abortion. Eighty-seven girls aged 13-19 years admitted to hospital for incomplete abortions were interviewed. Of these girls, 53 (61%) had had a spontaneous abortion and 34 (39%) had undergone an unsafe induced abortion. Significantly more girls with an unsafe induced abortion were single, students, had completed more years in school and were in less stable relationships. Girls' overall contraceptive knowledge and use was low and most pregnancies were unplanned. Partners played a decisive role in terminating pregnancy through unsafe induced abortion. Traditional healers, girls themselves and health professionals were the main abortion providers. Young women's health risks due to unprotected sex and lack of contraceptive services should urgently be addressed. The existence of the abortion law and access to emergency contraception should be better publicized in Zambia.

"BACKGROUND: Unsafe abortion imposes heavy burdens on both individuals and society, particularly in low-income countries, many of which have restrictive abortion laws. Providing family planning counseling and services to women following an abortion has emerged as a key strategy to address this issue. STUDY DESIGN: This systematic review gathered, appraised and synthesized recent research evidence on the effects of post-abortion family planning counseling and services on women in low-income countries. RESULTS: Of the 2965 potentially relevant records that were identified and screened, 15 studies satisfied the inclusion criteria. None provided evidence on the effectiveness of post-abortion family planning counseling and services on maternal morbidity and mortality. One controlled study found that, compared to the group of non-beneficiaries, women who received post-abortion family planning counseling and services had significantly fewer unplanned pregnancies and fewer repeat abortions during the 12-month follow-up period. All 15 studies examined contraception-related outcomes. In the seven studies which used a comparative design, there was greater acceptance and/or use of modern contraceptives in women who had received post-abortion family planning counseling and services relative to the no-program group. CONCLUSIONS: The current evidence on the use of post-abortion family planning counseling and services in low-income countries to address the problem of unsafe abortion is inconclusive. Nevertheless, the increase in acceptance and/or use of contraceptives is encouraging and has the potential to be further explored. Adequate funding to support robust research in this area of reproductive health is urgently needed."

2013 In Case report

OBJECTIVES: Abortion in Nigeria is permitted only to save a woman's life. Most abortions in that country take place under unsafe conditions and constitute a major source of maternal morbidity and mortality. We present a case of multiple visceral injuries complicating an induced abortion. CASE: A 28-year-old multiparous woman at 12 weeks' gestation had an induced abortion by dilatation and curettage in a private clinic. The procedure was complicated by uterine perforation and bowel injury, with protrusion of gangrenous loops of bowel from the vagina. At laparotomy the uterus was repaired, and a bowel resection with re-anastomosis was performed. The patient's recovery was uneventful. CONCLUSIONS: Increasing the uptake of contraception, training healthcare providers in safe methods of induced abortion, and liberalising abortion laws can reduce abortion-related morbidity and mortality in Nigeria.

2011 In Article

Why is induced abortion common in environments in which modern contraception is readily available? This study analyses qualitative data collected from focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with women and men from low-income areas in five countries--the United States, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru and Mexico--to better understand how couples manage their pregnancy risk. Across all settings, women and men rarely weigh the advantages and disadvantages of contraception and abortion before beginning a sexual relationship or engaging in sexual intercourse. Contraception is viewed independently of abortion, and the two are linked only when the former is invoked as a preferred means to avoiding repeat abortion. For women, contraceptive methods are viewed as suspect because of perceived side effects, while abortion experience, often at significant personal risk to them, raises the spectre of social stigma and motivates better practice of contraception. In all settings, male partners figure importantly in pregnancy decisions and management. Although there are inherent study limitations of small sample sizes, the narratives reveal psychosocial barriers to effective contraceptive use and identify Nodal points in pregnancy decision-making that can structure future investigations.

2010 In Article

Involuntary infertility and induced abortion exist on opposite sides of the spectrum: the first being the unwanted loss of childbearing potential while the second is the intentional termination of pregnancy. However, this paper proposes that these two poles of pregnancy loss are in fact related in Yoruba society, Nigeria. This argument is supported by qualitative and quantitative data drawn from an applied research project in communities and health institutions of Lagos State, from 1996 to 1999, where a total of 693 women recounted 1114 personal abortion experiences, and 233 women shared their experiences of fertility problems. Study statistics show that 37% of secondary infertility was most probably the result of induced abortion and that half of women with abortion complications interviewed in a referral hospital will have fertility problems. This paper provides insight into the reasons why single and married women decide to abort, and use unsafe methods, despite awareness of the serious health risks, including infertility. This is paradoxical given that fear of infertility is a major reason why women do Not use modern contraceptives when trying to prevent unwanted pregnancy. By analysing the relations between infertility and abortion within the socio-cultural, economic, and services-related structures that influence women's decisions, this paper suggests ways of addressing the problems related to both types of pregnancy loss.

2015 In Article

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights recently adopted General Comment No 2 to interpret provisions of Article 14 of the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights Women. The provisions relate to women’s rights to fertility control, contraception, family planning, information and education, and abortion. The present article highlights the General Comment’s potential to promote women’s sexual and reproductive rights in multiple ways. The General Comment’s human rights value goes beyond providing states with guidance for framing their domestic laws, practices, and policies to comply with treaty obligations. General Comment No 2 is invaluable in educating all stakeholders—including healthcare providers, lawyers, policymakers, and judicial officers at the domestic level—about pertinent jurisprudence. Civil society and human rights advocates can use the General Comment to render the state accountable for failure to implement its treaty obligations.