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Abortion choices among women in Cambodia after introduction of a socially marketed medicated abortion product

OBJECTIVE: To assess whether a social marketing initiative focusing on medicated abortion via a mifepristone/misoprostol “combipack” has contributed to reducing unsafe abortion in Cambodia.

METHODS: In a questionnaire-based cross-sectional study, annual household surveys were conducted across 13 Cambodian provinces in 2010, 2011, and 2012. One married woman of reproductive age who was not pregnant and did not wish to be within the next 2 years in each randomly selected household was approached for inclusion. Participants were interviewed using a structured questionnaire.

RESULTS: The questionnaire was completed by 1843 women in 2010, 2068 in 2011, and 2059 in 2012. Manual vacuum aspiration was reported by 61 (72.6%) of 84 women surveyed in 2010 who reported an abortion in the previous 12 months, compared with only 28 (52.8%) of 53 in 2012 (P=0.001). The numbers of women undergoing medicated abortion increased from 22 (26.2%) of 84 in 2010 to 27 (49.1%) of 53 in 2012 (P=0.003), whereas the numbers undergoing unsafe abortion decreased from 4 (4.8%) in 2010 to 0 in 2012 (P=0.051).

CONCLUSION: Social marketing of medication abortion coupled with provider training in clinical and behavioral change could have contributed to a reduction in the prevalence of unsafe abortion and shifted the types of abortion performed in Cambodia, while not increasing the overall number of abortions.

Access the abstract at Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2017 Feb;136(2):205-209.