Financial support to study complications after abortion in Malawi

by @NTNUhealth 3 December 2014

Elisabeth DarjBlogger: Elisabeth Darj,
Professor Global Health


Unmet needs of contraceptives contribute to unsafe illegal abortions and postoperative infections, both of which are major causes of maternal mortality around the world. Women may seek health facilities for on-going bleedings in early pregnancy, irrespective of how the abortion started, spontaneously or not.

Maria-Lisa Odland PhD-student, Jon Øyvind Odland and Geir Wenberg Jacobsen (co-supervisors) and I as a main superviser have applied and successfully received support for a three year PhD-project called The use of manual-vacuum aspiration in the treatment of incomplete abortions and post-abortion care in Malawi. GLOBVAC, a programme in the Research Council of Norway, has a primary objective to support high-quality research, with potentially high impact to sustainable improvements in health and equity for poor people in low income countries.

The national government of Malawi has a strategy to increase the use manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) in these cases, instead of the traditional method of dilatation and curettage, the latter associated with more complications. The PhD project will evaluate a training program among health personnel in using MVA for incomplete abortions. The intervention consists of a structured training program to all authorized health personnel caring for women, when evacuating retained abortion products are indicated. A prospective cross sectional study will assess the pre and post use of MVA. Our aim is that the intervention will increase the use of MVA significantly from the current 5% to 30% in the study health facilities. The study will also explore the use of contraceptives, as part of family planning in a rural and urban district. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods will be used.

The PhD-student, Maria-Lisa Odland, MD, received her medical education at NTNU and participated in the Medical Student Research Program (Forskerlinjen). She is now in her hospital internship (Turnus) program. Her interest of the MVA started during the medical studies and she has already published several papers, one of the same topic. Decrease in Use of Manual Vacuum Aspiration in Postabortion Care in Malawi: A Cross-Sectional Study from Three Public Hospitals, 2008–2012

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