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Glob Health Sci Pract. 2019 Aug 27;7(Suppl 2):S258-S270. doi: 10.9745/GHSP-D-19-00146. Print 2019 Aug 22.

Reducing Barriers to Postabortion Contraception: The Role of Expanding Coverage of Postabortion Care in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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Pathfinder International, Watertown, MA, USA.
Pathfinder International, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Pathfinder International, Watertown, MA, USA.



In Tanzania, limited access to postabortion care (PAC) contributes to high rates of maternal mortality. To address the issue, Pathfinder International and the Tanzania Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MOHCDGEC) introduced and expanded coverage of PAC in 64 public health facilities in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


During a 30-month period, we implemented a multifaceted approach to introduce and expand PAC, including clinical training and mentorship for health care providers; service reorganization, equipment provision, and an expanded method mix offering; standardization of PAC reporting tools; and community engagement and referral. We assessed outcomes using PAC service statistics from 64 public health facilities in 4 districts of Dar es Salaam and health care provider mentorship data from 385 observed PAC visits.


From January 2016 to June 2018, voluntary postabortion contraceptive uptake increased steadily. A total of 6,636 PAC clients, including 2,731 young people (ages 10-24), adopted a method post-procedure. Average semesterly client volume per facility increased from 27 to 52.4 manual vacuum aspiration clients and 17.6 to 43.9 postabortion contraceptors between the first and last periods. Overall postabortion contraceptive uptake was 80.6% (6,636/8,230), with a method mix of 58.3% implant, 18.9% intrauterine device, 13.7% pills, 8.6% injectables, and 0.5% permanent methods. Adults and young people had comparable method mix. Mentored providers showed improvements in service quality indicators. During the last period, 92% counseled the client on contraception, 93% considered the client's sexual and reproductive health intentions, 94% provided correct method information and supply, and 96% documented services on the client's family planning card. Different provider types (mid- and senior-level) performed comparably.


Expanding PAC coverage to primary- and secondary-level facilities led to high uptake of voluntary contraception among postabortion clients. Key interventions included PAC clinical training and mentorship; service reorganization, equipment provision, and an expanded method mix offering; use of standardized PAC registers; and community engagement for awareness building and linkage to PAC.

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