Towards safe abortion access: an exploratory study of medical abortion in Cambodia.
In 2010, following its approval by the Ministry of Health, the medical abortion combination pack Medabon (containing mifepristone and misoprostol) was made available at pharmacies and in a restricted number of health facilities in Cambodia. The qualitative study presented in this paper was conducted in 2012 as a follow-up to longer-term ethnographical research related to reproductive health and fertility regulation between 2008 and 2012. Observations were carried out at several clinics and pharmacy sites and in-depth interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 20 women who attended two MSI Cambodia centers and 10 women identified through social networks; six men (women’s male partners); eight health care providers at the two MSI centres and four pill sellers at private or informal pharmacies (who also provided health care services in private clinics). Although the level of training among the drug sellers and providers varied, their knowledge about medical abortion regimens, correct usage, and common side effects was good. Overall, women were satisfied with the services provided. Medical abortion was not always a women-only process in this study as some male partners were also involved in the care process. The study illustrates positive steps forward being taken in making abortion safe and preventing and reducing unsafe abortion practices in Cambodia.