Our research in safe abortion is designed to decrease abortion related morbidity and mortality in conjunction with family planning to reduce unwanted pregnancy.
The Health Burden of Unsafe Abortion
Unsafe abortion is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in developing countries. Over a third of the 182 million pregnancies that occur in developing countries are not intended, and approximately 20% of those will end in abortion, many of which are conducted in an unsafe manner resulting in approximately 80,000 maternal deaths globally each year. One in four women having an unsafe abortion is likely to face severe complications; hundreds of thousands of disabilities worldwide are attributed to unsafe abortion annually.
The complications of unsafe abortion are not only perilous for women, but also cause untold costs to health care systems. Treating the complications that result from unsafe abortion costs Africa and Latin America $227–280 million each year.
Bixby Center’s Approach
The Bixby Center, Venture Strategies Innovations, and the Tigray Regional Health Bureau are working together to reduce morbidity and mortality due to unsafe abortion in Tigray, Ethiopia though a pilot comprehensive abortion care (CAC) program. This pilot program will introduce a CAC strategy that will reduce risks to women’s health at all levels of the health care system – health post, health center, and hospital – at select health facilities in three zones of Tigray.
The goal is to provide safe, high-quality services that will be affordable and acceptable to women as close to their homes as possible, with the long term goal of reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies and abortions. The services are designed to effectively reach the majority of women in need of care, by tailoring available services to the existing capacity of the health care system at various levels of care.
To view the final report on the CAC Program in Ethiopia, please click here.
Training Low Level Providers to meet women’s needs:
The ongoing research will determine whether uncomplicated abortion and post-abortion care can be provided at the health post level by trained providers, while more difficult cases will continue to be referred to a higher level of care. By moving these At all levels of the system, high quality contraceptive counseling and on-site provision of a range of family planning choices will be a priority.