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Pharmacy workers’ knowledge and provision of medication for termination of pregnancy in Kenya
  1. Kate Reiss1,
  2. Katharine Footman2,
  3. Vitalis Akora3,
  4. Wilson Liambila4,
  5. Thoai D Ngo5
  1. 1Researcher, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Team, Health Systems Department, Marie Stopes International, London, UK
  2. 2Research Consultant, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Team, Health Systems Department, Marie Stopes International, London, UK
  3. 3Research Officer, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Team, Marie Stopes Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya
  4. 4Senior Programme Officer, Population Council, Nairobi, Kenya
  5. 5Head of Research, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Team, Health Systems Department, Marie Stopes International, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Miss Kate Reiss, Research, Monitoring & Evaluation Team, Health Systems Department, Marie Stopes, International, 1 Conway Street, London W1T 6LP, UK; kate.reiss{at}mariestopes.org

Abstract

Objective To assess pharmacy workers’ knowledge and provision of abortion information and methods in Kenya.

Methods In 2013 we interviewed 235 pharmacy workers in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu about the medical abortion services they provide. We also used mystery clients, who made 401 visits to pharmacies to collect first-hand information on abortion practices.

Results The majority (87.5%) of pharmacy workers had heard of misoprostol but only 39.2% had heard of mifepristone. We found that pharmacy workers had limited knowledge of correct medical abortion regimens, side effects and complications and the legal status of abortion drugs. 49.8% of pharmacy workers reported providing abortion information to clients and 4.3% reported providing abortion methods. 75.2% of pharmacies referred mystery clients to another provider, though 64.2% of pharmacies advised mystery clients to continue with their pregnancy. Pharmacy workers reported that they were experiencing demand for abortion services from clients.

Conclusions Pharmacy workers are important providers of information and referrals for women seeking abortion, however their medical abortion knowledge is limited. Training pharmacy workers on medical abortion may improve the quality of information provided and access to safe abortion.

  • abortion
  • misoprostol
  • medical abortion
  • Kenya
  • pharmacies
  • mifepristone

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