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Providing women with what they perceive to be a quality service is central to delivering client-centred safe abortion and post-abortion care. However, there is little existing research on what women as clients consider to be a quality service, and whether services are meeting these expectations.
To address this knowledge gap, IPPF and Ibis Reproductive Health have collaborated on a qualitative research study on abortion care client experience. The study included interviews and focus group discussions with women who had received abortion services, asking them about:
- Their perceptions of abortion prior to seeking care
- Their experience of the care received
- What they most prioritised in a quality abortion service.
The findings highlighted that many women have low expectations about the quality of service and serious fears about its safety, prior to accessing care.
The study also identified several priority aspects of care for women seeking an abortion, including:
- Kind and caring staff
- An effective and safe procedure
- Accurate and comprehensive information
- Supportive counselling
- And follow-up care.
The study provides important insights for those working on safe abortion programming to explore how services can better address women’s concerns, remove barriers to access, and meet the needs of women before, during and after safe abortion and post-abortion care.
“To me, the best service starts when the doctor is able to listen to me, is able to understand me, is able to enter into my shoes like they will own the problem and they will have a great attitude.”
A set of key recommendations are included at the end of the summary report, including on how to remove client-facing barriers and provide supportive counselling, which are useful to consider when designing and implementing safe abortion and post-abortion care services and programmes.