In areas where safe abortion is not available, either due to legal, financial or social barriers, post-abortion care is an important intervention to decrease abortion-related maternal mortality and morbidity.
Post-abortion care (PAC) is treatment given to a woman who presents at a clinic with complications, usually bleeding or infection, due to an incomplete abortion or miscarriage. Medical care is given to the woman to evacuate the uterus and to save her life. Methods for treating incomplete abortion include medication, surgery and expectant management.
When women cannot access safe abortion, they often turn to unskilled providers or attempt self-inflicted abortions, increasing the risk of incomplete abortion. Left untreated, incomplete abortion can lead to the woman’s death or disability.
Quick facts about unsafe abortion:
- Unsafe abortion is one of primary causes of maternal deaths, especially in developing countries.
- Over 20 million unsafe abortions are conducted every year, with 97 percent occurring in developing countries.
- Every year, 25,000 to 70,000 women die from unsafe abortion and an additional 5 million are hospitalized for related complications, which often result in permanent disabilities.
- The majority of unsafe abortions occur in the poorest areas of developing countries, and maternal deaths have far reaching consequences for children, families and communities.
- Up to half of obstetric complications and maternal hospital care expenditures are due to complications from unsafe abortion in some developing countries.
We implement comprehensive post-abortion care programs in several countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Comprehensive post-abortion care includes contraceptive counseling and services and links to other reproductive health services, in addition to life-saving emergency treatment of complications.
Our programs include:
- Securing supplies of needed equipment and drugs, and training providers to provide high-quality, comprehensive PAC services to women.
- Conducting interpersonal communications with women of reproductive age to educate them about the dangers of unsafe abortion, the importance of contraception and where to find post-abortion care.
- Creating advocacy campaigns targeting key opinion leaders to educate them about the consequences of unsafe abortion and the importance of post-abortion care.
- Misoprostol for post-abortion care: We distribute misoprostol and train providers to provide life-saving post-abortion care with it.
- Manual vacuum aspiration (MVA): We procure manual vacuum aspiration equipment and train providers to provide life-saving post-abortion care with it.
- Post PAC contraception: We ensure that women are fully informed of their contraceptive options post abortion and are able to get the method they want immediately or as soon as is medically advised.