Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Abortion experiences among Zanzibari women: a chain-referral sampling study

TitleAbortion experiences among Zanzibari women: a chain-referral sampling study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsNorris, A, Harrington, BJ, Grossman, D, Hemed, M, Hindin, MJ
JournalReprod Health
ISBN Number1742-4755 (Electronic)1742-4755 (Linking)
Accession Number26969305
KeywordsAbortion, Chain-referral sampling, Post abortion care, Pregnancy, reproductive health, Zanzibar

BACKGROUND: In Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania, induced abortion is illegal but common, and fewer than 12% of married reproductive-aged women use modern contraception. As part of a multi-method study about contraception and consequences of unwanted pregnancies, the objective of this study was to understand the experiences of Zanzibari women who terminated pregnancies. METHODS: The cross-sectional study was set in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Participants were a community-based sample of women who had terminated pregnancies. We carried out semi-structured interviews with 45 women recruited via chain-referral sampling. We report the characteristics of women who have had abortions, the reasons they had abortions, and the methods used to terminate their pregnancies. RESULTS: Women in Zanzibar terminate pregnancies that are unwanted for a range of reasons, at various points in their reproductive lives, and using multiple methods. While clinical methods were most effective, nearly half of our participants successfully terminated a pregnancy using non-clinical methods and very few had complications requiring post abortion care (PAC). CONCLUSIONS: Even in settings where abortion is illegal, some women experience illegal abortions without adverse health consequences, what we might call 'safer' unsafe abortions; these kinds of abortion experiences can be missed in studies about abortion conducted among women seeking PAC in hospitals.