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Medical abortion commodities have improved women’s access to safe abortion; however, availability of quality mifepristone and misoprostol vary from country to country. In addition, misoprostol is prone to rapid degeneration when exposed to humidity and moisture and there have been anecdotal and documented reports of poor quality misoprostol used in some settings. This can result in a range of complications, including continued pregnancy, bleeding or retained products of conception.
While the incidence of medical abortion is increasing, service providers and procurement personnel face challenges in knowing which brands to procure for safe medical abortion at the country level. IPPF recognized that there was no single, searchable place with country-level information on medical abortion commodities.
To address this knowledge gap, IPPF developed the first medical abortion commodities database as of its kind, available via medab.org. As an online searchable database, public health professionals can access information on the availability of quality misoprostol, mifepristone and co-packaged mifepristone and misoprostol (combipacks). The database is, therefore, a valuable resource to those already providing or planning to offer safe abortion services.
IPPF worked closely with Gynuity Health Projects and Concept Foundation to develop the database. Together, the teams worked to determine the availability and quality of medical abortion commodities around the world, creating a ‘home’ for this valuable information in one online, open database.
The Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition have also developed a webinar introducing the database and how it can inform policy and programming.