The Estimated Incidence of Abortion in Malawi

Brooke A. Levandowski, Ipas
Edgar Kuchingale, Malawi College of Medicine
Linda Kalilani-Phiri, University of Malawi
Hans Katengeza, Malawi Ministry of Health
Yirgu Gebrehiwot, Addis Ababa University
Hailemichael Gebreselassie, Ipas
Juliana Lunguzi, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Malawi
Fanny Kachale, Malawi Ministry of Health
Godfrey Kangaude, Ipas
Chisale Mhango, Malawi Ministry of Health

Unsafe abortion is a serious problem that affects over 20 million women each year globally, leading to almost 68,000 yearly deaths. In a legally restrictive setting, such as Malawi, women turn to unsafe abortion to manage unwanted pregnancy. This study utilized the Abortion Incidence Complications Methodology to estimate abortion incidence. Data were collected over a 30 day period on patients presenting for post-abortion care (n=2076) and on facility service provision from 166 public, non-governmental and private facilities representing all levels. In-depth interviews were conducted with 56 stakeholders concerning women’s access to care. It was estimated that 70,194 induced abortions (range 50,696-89,692) occurred in Malawi in 2009, yielding an abortion rate of 24.0 abortions per 1000 women aged 15-44 (range 17.4-30.7). Study findings warrant careful consideration as government and civil society organizations in Malawi continue efforts to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals and improve the health of women and their families.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 5