Determination of medical abortion eligibility by women and community health volunteers in Nepal: A toolkit evaluation

Posted by Kimberley Meijers on September 11, 2017 at 7:41 am



To determine if pregnant, literate women and female community health volunteers (FCHVs) in Nepal can accurately determine a woman’s eligibility for medical abortion (MA) using a toolkit, compared to comprehensive abortion care (CAC) trained providers.

Study design

We conducted a prospective diagnostic accuracy study in which women presenting for the first-trimester abortion, and FCHVs, independently assessed each woman’s eligibility for MA using a modified gestational dating wheel to determine gestational age and a nine-point checklist of MA contraindications or cautions. Ability to determine MA eligibility was compared to experienced CAC-providers using Nepali standard of care.

Results

Both women (n = 3131) and FCHVs (n = 165) accurately interpreted the wheel 96% of the time, and the eligibility checklist 72% and 95% of the time, respectively. Of the 649 women who reported potential contraindications or cautions on the checklist, 88% misidentified as eligible. Positive predictive value (PPV) of women’s assessment of eligibility based on gestational age was 93% (95% CI 92, 94) compared to CAC-providers’ (n = 47); PPV of the medical contraindications checklist and overall (90% [95% CI 88, 91] and 93% [95% CI 92, 94] respectively) must be interpreted with caution given women’s difficulty using the checklist. PPV of FCHVs’ determinations were 93% (95% CI 92, 94), 90% (95% CI 89,91), and 93% (95% CI 91, 94) respectively.

Conclusion

Although a promising strategy to assist women and FCHVs to assess MA eligibility, further refinement of the eligibility tools, particularly the checklist, is needed before their widespread use.