HD-Background Selector

2010 In Article

OBJECTIVE: To examine the impact of a national intervention to improve the post-abortion care (PAC) content of midwifery education in Nigeria. METHODS: A 3-part quantitative assessment was carried out during and post-intervention. The first baseline component developed and examined the intervention to improve teaching capacity and improve the PAC curriculum among 6 midwifery schools that were to become regional training centers. The second survey was a pre- and post-assessment conducted among midwifery instructors from all schools of midwifery in the country. In the third component, 149 midwives graduating from the 6 regional midwifery schools were interviewed once 3-9 months after graduation to evaluate whether the intervention had improved their knowledge of PAC and clinical practice, and the likelihood that they would provide PAC after graduation.

2012 In Article

In 2009, we published an article in RHM showing a large delay in provision of emergency obstetric care to women who died from unsafe abortion complications at the Centre Hospitalier de Libreville. The paper raised awareness among hospital and government authorities of a serious delay in timely treatment, and they supported the recommendation of the hospital's Maternal Mortality Committee to greatly reduce the delay and also improve the care of women with abortion complications. Training in manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) for uterine evacuation was introduced, for use by midwives as well as obstetrician-gynaecologists, with local anaesthesia. The mean delay in providing care to women with abortion complications in the 2008 findings was compared to data from the five months from 1 November 2011 through 31 March 2012. In 2008, all incomplete abortions were treated by physicians with dilatation & evacuation (D&C) or electric vacuum aspiration (EVA) with general anaesthesia. In 2011-12, two-thirds of women were treated with manual vacuum aspiration with local anaesthesia instead, one half of them by midwives. The mean delay between presentation and treatment was 18.0 hours in 2008 and 1.8 hours in 2011-12. The mean delay did Not differ between women treated with MVA or D&C/EVA, Nor if treated by midwives or physicians.

2012 In Article

"BACKGROUND: In low-resource settings, where abortion is highly restricted and self-induced abortions are common, access to post-abortion care (PAC) services, especially treatment of incomplete terminations, is a priority. Standard post-abortion care has involved surgical intervention but can be hard to access in these areas. Misoprostol provides an alternative to surgical intervention that could increase access to abortion care. We sought to gather additional evidence regarding the efficacy of 400 mcg of sublingual misoprostol vs. standard surgical care for treatment of incomplete abortion in the environments where need for economical Non-surgical treatments may be most useful. METHODS:A total of 860 women received either sublingual misoprostol or standard surgical care for treatment of incomplete abortion in a multi-site randomized trial. Women with confirmed incomplete abortion, defined as past or present history of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy and an open cervical os, were eligible to participate. Participants returned for follow-up one week later to confirm clinical status. If abortion was incomplete at that time, women were offered an additional follow-up visit or immediate surgical evacuation. RESULTS: Both misoprostol and surgical evacuation are highly effective treatments for incomplete abortion (misoprostol: 94.4%, surgical: 100.0%). Misoprostol treatment resulted in a somewhat lower chance of success than standard surgical practice (RR = 0.90; 95% CI: 0.89-0.92). Both tolerability of side effects and women's satisfaction were similar in the two study arms. CONCLUSION: Misoprostol, much easier to provide than surgery in low-resource environments, can be used safely, successfully, and satisfactorily for treatment of incomplete abortion. Focus should shift to program implementation, including task-shifting the provision of post-abortion care to mid- and low- level providers, training and assurance of drug availability."

OBJECTIVE: Training midlevel providers (MLPs) to conduct surgical abortions and manage medical abortions has been proposed as a way to increase women's access to safe abortion. This paper reviews the evidence that compares the effectiveness and safety of abortion procedures administered by MLPs versus doctors. METHODS: A systematic search was conducted of published trials and comparison studies assessing the effectiveness and/or safety of abortion provided by MLPs compared to doctors. The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, MEDLINE, and Popline were searched. The primary outcomes of interest were: (1) incomplete or failed abortion; and (2) measures of safety (adverse events and complications) of abortion procedures administered by MLPs and doctors. Odds ratios (ORs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for each study. Data were synthesized in a narrative fashion. FINDINGS: Five studies were included in this review (n = 8539 women), comprising two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) (n = 3821) and three prospective cohort studies (n = 4718). In total, 4198 women underwent a procedure administered by an MLP, and 4341 women underwent a physician-administered procedure. Studies took place in the US, Nepal, South Africa, Vietnam, and India. Four studies used surgical abortion with maximum gestational ages ranging from 10 to 16+ weeks, while a medical abortion study had gestational ages up to 9 weeks. In RCTs, the effect estimates for incomplete or failed abortion for procedures performed by MLPs compared with doctors were OR = 2.00 (95% CI 0.85-4.68) for surgical abortion, and OR = 0.69 (95% CI 0.34-1.37) for medical abortion. Complications were rare among both provider types (1.2%-3.1%; OR = 1.80, 95% CI 0.83-3.90 for surgical abortions), and no deaths were reported. CONCLUSION: There were no statistical differences in incomplete abortion and complications for first trimester surgical and medical abortion up to 9 weeks performed by MLPs compared with physicians. Further studies are required to establish more precise effect estimates.

Unsafe abortion is a significant contributor to maternal mortality in Nigeria, and treatment of post-abortion complications drains public healthcare resources. Provider estimates of medications, supplies, and staff time spent in 17 public hospitals were used to estimate the per-case and annual costs of post-abortion care (PAC) provision in Ogun and Lagos states and the Federal Capital Territory. PAC with treatment of moderate complications (US $112) cost 60 more per case than simple PAC (US $70). In cases needing simple PAC, treatment with dilation and curettage (D&C, US $80) cost 18 more per case than manual vacuum aspiration (US $68). Annually, all public hospitals in these 3 states spend US $807 442 on PAC. This cost could be reduced by shifting service provision to an outpatient basis, allowing service provision by midwives, and abandoning the use of D&C. Availability of safe, legal abortion would further decrease cost and reduce preventable deaths from unsafe abortion.

2014 In Article

Preference for manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and its use for the treatment of incomplete abortion were evaluated among 52 healthcare professionals in 7 Yaoundé hospitals in Cameroon. All but one healthcare professional preferred MVA; however, this technique was available at all times in only two hospitals. In some hospitals, MVA use was only available during the day, while in others it was Not available at all. Based on these findings, MVA kits were obtained from the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) for training and to supply selected hospitals. The result was a dramatic increase in the use of MVA in all of the hospitals that received the kits. In one hospital, No kits were received; however, the staff had been sensitized to the problem and the equipment belonging to one of the physicians was put into service. The successful experience of this pilot project provides a rationale for expanding MVA use for incomplete abortion to the entire country.

2015 In Article

"BACKGROUND: Health systems could obtain substantial cost savings by providing safe abortion care rather than providing expensive treatment for complications of unsafely performed abortions. This study estimates current health system costs of treating unsafe abortion complications and compares these findings with newly-projected costs for providing safe abortion in Malawi. METHODS: We conducted in-depth surveys of medications, supplies, and time spent by clinical personnel dedicated to post-abortion care (PAC) for three treatment categories (simple, severe non-surgical, and severe surgical complications) and three uterine evacuation (UE) procedure types (manual vacuum aspiration (MVA), dilation and curettage (D&C) and misoprostol-alone) at 15 purposively-selected public health facilities. Per-case treatment costs were calculated and applied to national, annual PAC caseload data. RESULTS: The median cost per D&C case ($63) was 29 % higher than MVA treatment ($49). Costs to treat severe non-surgical complications ($63) were almost five times higher than those of a simple PAC case ($13). Severe surgical complications were especially costly to treat at $128. PAC treatment in public facilities cost an estimated $314,000 annually. Transition to safe, legal abortion would yield an estimated cost reduction of 20 %-30 %. CONCLUSION: The method of UE and severity of complications have a large impact on overall costs. With a liberalized abortion law and implementation of induced abortion services with WHO-recommended UE methods, current PAC costs to the health system could markedly decrease."

2009 In Article

Multiple studies have demonstrated that manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) is ideal for surgical uterine evacuation in low-resource settings such as Ghana, but developing a sustainable supply to MVA has been challenging. In 2007 a situational analysis was conducted in Ghana to identify barriers to sustainable MVA supply. Information about MVA availability was gathered in seven regions of Ghana and obtained through background literature, unpublished data and reports, and 70 informational interviews with stakeholders involved with MVA policy, manufacturing, procurement, distribution, supply, training, and provision. The findings revealed that despite consensus about the dire need for MVA in Ghana, developing sustainable access to MVA instruments has proven difficult. In the public and the private health sectors, procuring MVA equipment has been particularly challenging for low-income, low-Volume service providers. Research findings yielded ten recommendations for improving sustainable access to MVA, including the implementation of a revolving purchase mechanism for health provider associations, such as the Ghana Registered Midwives Association.

2015 In Article
The "rightness" of a technology for completing a particular task is negotiated by medical professionals, patients, state institutions, manufacturing companies, and Non-governmental organizations. This paper shows how certain technologies may challenge the meaning of the "job" they are designed to accomplish. Manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) is a syringe device for uterine evacuation that can be used to treat complications of incomplete abortion, known as post-abortion care (PAC), or to terminate pregnancy. I explore how negotiations over the rightness of MVA as well as PAC unfold at the intersection of national and global reproductive politics during the daily treatment of abortion complications at three hospitals in Senegal, where PAC is permitted but induced abortion is legally prohibited. Although state health authorities have championed MVA as the "preferred" PAC technology, the primary donor for PAC, the United States Agency for International Development, does Not support the purchase of abortifacient technologies. I conducted an Ethnography of Senegal's PAC program between 2010 and 2011. Data collection methods included interviews with 49 health professionals, observation of PAC treatment and review of abortion records at three hospitals, and a review of transnational literature on MVA and PAC. While MVA was the most frequently employed form of uterine evacuation in hospitals, concerns about off-label MVA practices contributed to the persistence of less effective methods such as dilation and curettage (D&C) and digital curettage. Anxieties about MVA's capacity to induce abortion have constrained its integration into routine obstetric care. This capacity also raises questions about what the "job," PAC, represents in Senegalese hospitals. The prioritization of MVA's security over women's access to the preferred technology reinforces gendered inequalities in health care.