Abortion services need to be strengthened in India

On an average 14 abortions are performed per month at the District and Sub-District Hospitals with the Northern States reporting the highest number at 21 per month and Southern States the lowest at 8, according to a study on “An Assessment of Availability of selected CAC components in the Public Health system in India’’ done by Garima Dutta of the Indian Institute of Population Sciences. In the CHC, on an average 14 abortions are performed with the North eastern States reporting the highest number 33 and the least – 8 — being reported from Western states. For the rest of the States, the numbers range between 10 and 15.

The study examines the availability of some CAC components (human resource, drugs, training of health personnel and essential equipment) across different level of facilities and geographical region. The data was taken from the District Level Household and Facility Survey (DLHS-4), 2012-13. The sample size included 1588 District/Sub District Hospitals, 4843 CHCs and 8540 PHCs. The study shows 75.6% District and Sub-District Hospitals had obstetrics and gynaeocologists available, 74.4% had nurses available and in 72.5% obstetrics and gynaeocologists were available round-the-clock.  In the CHC, 26.2% had obstetrics and gynaeocologists while 30.2% medical officers had received MTP training in the last five years.

Here, the scenario was worst in Northern states with only 23.8% CHC having obstetrics and gynaeocologists available and 33.3% medical doctors were MTP trained whereas Western states were the best with 54.2% CHCs having obstetrics and gynaeocologists and 48.6% medical doctors trained for MTP in the past 5 years. When it came to PHCs, a total of 24.1% doctors at PHC had received MTP training. In the Western States, the percentage was the highest at 48.1% and the least at 10.6% in Central States.

There is a dearth of trained abortion providers and functional facilities in the country, Ms Dutta said. Presenting her study at the concluding day of Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC) Conclave organised by Ipas Development Foundation,  Ms Dutta said efforts should be made in providing medical termination of pregnancy training to more number of medical doctors. Government should give more emphasis on infrastructure and availability of surgical and medical abortion drugs especially at Community Health Centres (CHCs) and Primary Health Centres (PHCs) with special emphasis to be given on post abortion counseling and contraception.”

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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