Every year 47,000 women die after an unsafe abortion and 8 million more women are left suffering from short term or permanent disabilities. And the impact can be just as devastating for the families and communities left behind: when a mother dies, the risk of death for her children under age 5 goes up by 50%.
Unsafe abortion remains a major global public health and human rights concern.
Women risk their lives to end unwanted pregnancies, and it is vital that they can access the professional healthcare they need if and when things go wrong. Post-abortion care can be lifesaving and is legally permitted in every country around the world.
In countries where abortion is restricted however, misinformation and a lack of medical training and guidance can prevent access to care. Healthcare professionals and women are often confused or scared about what healthcare can be legally provided.
To address these issues in February 2014, Marie Stopes International and the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership convened a regional workshop in collaboration with the Cambodian National Maternal and Child Health Centre and the World Health Organization.
The workshop brought together policy makers and practitioners from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for four days of intense learning, sharing and debate. Delegates finished the week with individual national action plans focusing on policy change, service delivery and training to provide life-saving services in their countries.
Reflecting on the efforts, Dr Avind Mathura, Medical Advisor, World Health Organization said:
Working with partners in this way has been a unique experience: combining clinical expertise and individual and collective experience. This is the way we should be taking things forward and Marie Stopes International is best placed to do this work with its alliances and experience in country. The joint collaboration has been great.