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Safe abortion and post-abortion family planning service experiences

A qualitative study of safe abortion and post-abortion family planning service experiences of women attending private facilities in Kenya

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Qualitative research with women who had recently used safe abortion services from private clinics in western Kenya aimed to understand their pathways to care, experiences and preferences.

The research highlighted the complex pathways women can have before accessing safe abortion care. Women commonly used multiple abortion methods before accessing a safe service, faced delays due to financial barriers, and challenges with finding safe providers.

The women interviewed reported wanting to use abortion services at facilities reputed for being accessible, clean, medically safe, and offering quick, respectful, private and courteous services. Awareness of reputable clinics was gained through personal experience, and recommendations from contacts and other health providers. Contraceptive counselling was valued by the women, and while some chose to use contraception immediately after counselling, others wanted to delay decision-making about contraception until the abortion was complete. 

Improvements in community knowledge of safe abortion care and accessibility of services are needed to reduce recourse to unsafe abortion. Quality of post-abortion contraceptive services can be improved by inclusion of support for women who want to delay family planning uptake until their abortion is complete.

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