Following the legalization of abortion in Nepal in 2002, abortion services have been provided safely at both government and private facilities throughout the country, according to a new study released Thursday by Ipas. An exploratory study of complications from comprehensive abortion care found that the overall rate of complications was less than 2 percent, mostly of low to moderate severity, between 2004 and 2007.
“This study shows the benefit of public-private partnerships for increasing access to safe abortion services,” said Indira Basnett, director of Ipas Nepal. “Expanded service sites, good provider training and adherence to practice protocols are improving care for women."
The Nepal Ministry of Health began providing comprehensive abortion care in 2004, two years after abortion was legalized in the country. Investigators noted the importance of good follow-up with clients to identify and reduce complications. The use of mobile phones contributed to the high (93 percent) follow-up rate during the study, and has potential for use in other areas of health. As a result of the study, a client complication monitoring system will be integrated into the government’s Health Management Information System to help trained providers better recognize and manage abortion-related complications as they arise.
“Limited human and financial resources, shifting health personnel and challenging terrain impose barriers to routine follow-up,” said Basnett. “These tools will facilitate efforts to ensure a woman’s care is complete.”
Unsafe abortion accounts for 13% of all maternal deaths in developing countries – access to safe abortion services is necessary to save women’s lives.