Unsafe abortion requiring hospital admission in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea - a descriptive study of women's and health care workers' experiences

Vallely, Lisa M., Homiehombo, Primrose, Kelly-Hanku, Angela, and Whittaker, Andrea (2015) Unsafe abortion requiring hospital admission in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea - a descriptive study of women's and health care workers' experiences. Reproductive Health, 12 (22). pp. 1-11.

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Background: In Papua New Guinea induced abortion is restricted under the Criminal Code Law. Unsafe abortions are known to be widely practiced and sepsis due to unsafe abortion is a leading cause of maternal mortality.

Methods: We undertook a six month, prospective, mixed methods study at the Eastern Highlands Provincial Hospital. Semi structured and in depth interviews were undertaken with women presenting following induced abortion. This paper describes the reasons why women resorted to unsafe abortion, the techniques used, decision to seek post abortion care and women's reflections post abortion.

Results: 28 women were admitted to hospital following an induced abortion. Reasons for inducing an abortion included: wanting to continue with studies, relationship problems and socio-cultural factors. Misoprostol was the most frequently used method to end the pregnancy. Physical and mechanical means, traditional herbs and spiritual beliefs were also reported. Women sought care post abortion due to excessive vaginal bleeding, and severe abdominal pain with some afraid they would die if they did not seek help.

Conclusion: In the absence of contraceptive information and services to avoid, postpone or space pregnancies, women in this setting are resorting to unsafe means to end an unwanted pregnancy, putting their lives at risk. Women need access to safe, effective means of abortion.

Item ID: 42045
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1742-4755
Keywords: unsafe abortion, abortion methods, misoprostol, traditional herbs, Papua New Guinea
Additional Information:

© Vallely et al.; licensee BioMed Central. 2015

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Funders: AusAID PNG, Papua New Guinea Institute for Medical Research, Marie Stopes, PNG
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 15:15
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1114 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine > 111404 Reproduction @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111708 Health and Community Services @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920507 Womens Health @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920413 Social Structure and Health @ 50%
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