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Julia Ramadhani: Sharing Her Story to Save Others’ Lives

Postabortion care saves women’s lives at Sekou Toure Hospital in Mwanza Region.

“I was almost dying—now I know that I am safe from unwanted pregnancies.

Julia Ramadhani, age 32, is a resident of Nyamagana District in Mwanza, Tanzania. A mother of six, she has had seven pregnancies in the past. She earns a living by selling fruits on the streets of Mwanza City. 

When Julia experienced heavy bleeding for three consecutive days, she decided to seek medical attention. She looked pale when she reached the outpatient department of the Sekou Toure Hospital. They admitted her in the gynecology ward for further investigation by a trained postabortion care provider. Her medical history revealed an eight-week long amenorrhea, and she was subsequently diagnosed with an incomplete abortion. She was administered intravenous fluids, and after her condition stabilized, she received a manual vacuum aspiration.

In Tanzania, unsafe abortions account for more than one-third of hospitalizations related to complications from pregnancy and roughly one-quarter of maternal deaths, according to the Guttmacher Institute. EngenderHealth has extended technical support through various projects over the years—most recently through the Postabortion Care Family Planning (PAC-FP) Project, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to Sekou Toure Hospital to improve PAC services.

When Julia was later counseled by her health care provider about the range of contraceptive choices and services available to her, she confided that she did not want more children and would like to opt for tubal ligation. As Julia was being discharged, she reflected: “I was almost dying, were it not for the postabortion care services at Sekou Toure. With this family planning method, I now know that I am safe from unwanted pregnancies.” Having benefited from the advantages of planning, she is now a strong advocate for choice and empowerment. She believes that family planning would help save the lives of many women.

Through a holistic approach to strengthen health systems and the enabling environment, the PAC-FP Project hopes to reduce preventable maternal deaths through increased uptake of postabortion family planning services, mostly hormonal implants and intrauterine devices. The project is currently running in Tanzania and extends support to 15 Francophone African countries through a partnership with the Centre de Formation et de Recherche de la Reproduction (CEFOREP).

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