A cross-sectional study was conducted among 110 women who received harm-reduction counseling at a public health center in Dar es Salaam between February 10 and October 10, 2014. Background and clinical information was collected for all women; a subgroup (n=50) undertook a semi-structured survey that measured the type of services women received, women’s perception of the services, and pregnancy outcome. The main study outcomes were attendance at the follow-up visit, type and quality of information women received on both visits, and misoprostol use for pregnancy termination.
Overall, 55 (50.0%) women attended follow-up services. Misoprostol was used for induced abortion among 54 (98.2%); 38 (70.4%) of these women had obtained contraception at the follow-up visit. Likelihood of attendance for follow-up was increased among women who were older than 34 years (odds ratio [OR] 2.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.1–35.8), were married (OR 2.1, 95% CI 0.8–5.7), and had a post-primary education level (OR 2.0, 95% CI 0.8–5.3). On average, 44 (87.0%) women received all required information at the initial counseling session and none reported major complications that required hospitalization.
Harm-reduction services for unsafe abortion are feasible and acceptable, and could provide an excellent opportunity to fight abortion-related morbidity and mortality in Tanzania.
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