Harm elimination project for unsafe abortion in Nigeria: An operations research

  • Ehigha Enabudoso
  • Gregrey A. Oko‑Oboh
  • Alfred E Ehigiegba
  • Jedidiah Dase Kingsley Sodje
  • Julie Erhabor
  • Matthew Oriakhi
  • Joseph U.E. Onakewhor
Keywords: HELPUSAN, pre‑ and postabortion counseling, preventing unsafe abortion in Nigeria, unsafe abortion.


Context: The harm elimination model is designed to improve access to pre‑ and postabortion care including free contraception and address the challenges posed by unsafe abortion to the sexual and reproductive health of the women recruited for the study.

Aims: To determine the impact of the “Harm Elimination Project For Unsafe Abortion in Nigeria” (HELPUSAN) model on the rate of decision to keep the pregnancy by women seeking termination of pregnancy and the determinants of this decision.

Subjects and Methods: Over the 6‑month period of this pilot survey, all women presenting for abortion were offered preabortion and postabortion counseling and services according to the study protocol. The study did not offer abortion services based on the abortion law in Nigeria. The clients were followed up for 6 weeks and assessed on decision to continue the pregnancy or not.

Results: Of 105 attendees, 12.4% declined enrolment, 59.8%had induced abortion, and 45.8% had spontaneous abortion. Among those who presented for postabortion care following induced abortion, the main method used for inducing the abortion process was drugs (80.5%). A total of 90 (97.8%) of the participants were confirmed to be pregnant of which 52 (57.8%) were viable. Also, of the 52 participants with viable pregnancies, 19 (36.5%) decided to retain their pregnancies, while 33 (63.5%) decided not to retain their pregnancies.

Conclusion: Almost 40% of clients presenting as pre abortion clients decided to retain the pregnancy. This work also once again highlights the high unmet need for contraception in Nigeria.

Key words: HELPUSAN; pre‑ and postabortion counseling; preventing unsafe abortion in Nigeria; unsafe abortion.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0189-5117