Abortion care improvements in Tigray, Ethiopia: Using the Safe Abortion Care (SAC) approach to monitor the availability, utilization, and quality of services

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

To reduce the tragic consequences of unsafe abortion, the Ethiopian law on abortion was changed in 2005 to allow access to safely induced abortion for a set of indications including rape, incest, fetal deformity, physical or mental disabilities of the woman, and for minors not able to raise a child. Subsequently, in 2006, the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) published technical guidelines for safe abortion services, and efforts have been underway in Tigray and other regions to improve and provide the expanded abortion care services. Starting in 2007, the Tigray Health Bureau and Ipas conducted a two-year project using the Safe Abortion Care (SAC) monitoring framework to assess progress on implementing the FMOH mandate for improved abortion and postabortion contraception and services. Consisting of a set of indicators and a group of SAC signal functions (critical service elements that facilities must perform to manage unwanted pregnancy and treat abortion complications), the SAC approach enables measurement of the availability, use and quality of abortion-related care within an individual facility or at the regional or national level.