Abortion is illegal throughout most of the developing world, where more than half of all induced abortions are unsafe. Performed by unskilled people in unsanitary environments, abortions often result in complications such as excessive bleeding and blood infections and account for an estimated 13% of maternal deaths worldwide. That’s between 40-50,0000 deaths per year.
With appropriate and timely care, thousands of deaths can be prevented. EngenderHealth has developed a package of postabortion care services that includes protocols for emergency treatment of complications from abortion (as well as miscarriage), family planning counseling and services, and referrals to other health care services.
To date, EngenderHealth has been involved with implementing postabortion care services in nearly 30 countries and has trained more than 15,000 clinicians to provide lifesaving treatments. Below are some examples of our work:
- In Tanzania, complications from abortion are a leading cause of maternal death. Through the ACQUIRE Tanzania Project (ATP), EngenderHealth has partnered with the Tanzanian government since 2004 to improve availability of services for comprehensive postabortion care (cPAC) in rural areas. Previously, these services were only available at regional hospitals, which were too far away for many women to receive timely emergency care.
- In Kenya, through the ACQUIRE Project, EngenderHealth mobilized communities to prevent and treat incomplete abortion by:
- Conducting community outreach on the importance of maternal care and accessing health services
- Training both private and public sector midwives and providers in postabortion care
- In Cambodia, EngenderHealth assisted the Ministry of Health in developing a national postabortion care policy.
- In the Dominican Republic and Malawi, EngenderHealth conducted research to identify and address the needs for adolescent postabortion care clients, published in the report Postabortion Care for Adolescents: Results from Research in the Dominican Republic and Malawi.
EngenderHealth’s training curriculum, Counseling the Postabortion Client: A Training Curriculum, can be used by health care providers everywhere to integrate comprehensive, high-quality counseling into postabortion care services and is available in English, French, and Spanish.