Making abortions legal is only the first step ! It doesn’t help unless there is a system in place for is safety and accessibility. Keeping this in mind, the World Health Organisation has released the Clinical Practice Handbook for Safe Abortion Care in February 2014. Abortion is heavily restricted by law in many countries, imposing severe penalties in some cases for women who seek abortion as well as those who provide it. Even where the law is more liberal , several other barriers exist – commonly being access, safety and quality services. Unsafe abortion now kills an estimated 47,000 women every year, and injures millions more.
Against this backdrop, the handbook seeks to facilitate the practical application of the clinical recommendations from the second edition of Safe abortion: Technical and Policy Guidance for Health Systems, prepared by the World Health Organization in 2012. Although the legal, regulatory, policy and service-delivery contexts will vary from country to country, these recommendations and best practices should be integrated in order to create an enabling environment where evidence-based safe abortion care can be provided.
Who can use this handbook?
The handbook is for providers who already have the skills and training necessary to provide safe abortion and/or treat complications of unsafe abortion. It is not, however, a substitute for formal training, nor a training manual. Providers should work within the laws governing their countries and the requisite reporting requirements, but must always ensure that they provide services to the fullest extent of the law and not create barriers where there are none in the law ! Providers should always work to protect the health of women and adolescent girls, promote informed, voluntary and autonomous decision-making as well as ensure non-discrimination, confidentiality and privacy.
What does the handbook contain?
The handbook is a primer for the establishment of uniform, qualitative, safe and standard abortion practices. It addresses the information, counselling and decision-making processes needed before the abortion service is offered. It offers guidance for practices on taking details of medical history into account, the kind of physical examination that should be taken up, laboratory and other investigations as necessary and available, and also discusses contraceptive options. The second segment of the handbook talks about abortion services in general, discussing a summary of methods for medical and surgical abortion—including drugs, supplies and equipment needed, infection prevention and control, pain management. The third segment of the book talks about post-abortion, looking at the pre-discharge and post-discharge formalities, contraception after abortion and assessing and managing complications arising out of abortion.
If you are a provider do download and read the handbook from this link:
To download a copy of the report, click here: Clinical Practice Handbook for Safe Abortion Care.
If you are involved in advocacy, do ensure that you take this handbook to providers you work with or to organizations that provide services in your country!