BANGLADESH – Client-reported quality of facility-managed medical abortion compared with pharmacy-sourced self-managed abortion in Bangladesh

by Laura E Jacobson, Sarah E Baum, Erin Pearson, Rezwana Chowdhury, Nirali M Chakraborty, Julia M Goodman, Caitlin Gerdts, Blair G Darney

BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health, 12 September 2023


Objective: We used the newly developed Abortion Care Quality Tool (ACQTool) to compare client-reported quality of medication abortion care by source (facility-managed vs pharmacy-sourced self-managed abortion (SMA)) in Bangladesh.

Methods: We leveraged exit and 30-day follow-up surveys collected to develop and validate the ACQTool collected at nongovernmental organisation (NGO)-supported or -operated facilities in the public and private sector and pharmacies from three districts in Bangladesh. We used bivariate statistics to compare 18 client-reported quality indicators grouped in six domains and eight abortion outcomes, by source (facility vs pharmacy). We used multivariable logistic regression to identify factors associated with selected quality indicators and outcomes (abortion affordability, information provision, and knowing what to do for an adverse event), controlling for client sociodemographic characteristics.

Results: Of 550 abortion clients, 146 (26.5%) received a facility-managed medication abortion and 404 (73.5%) had a pharmacy-sourced SMA. Clients reported higher quality in facilities for five indicators, and higher in pharmacies for two indicators; the remaining 11 indicators were not different by source. Compared with facility-based clients, pharmacy clients had higher odds of reporting that the cost of abortion was affordable (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 3.55; 95% CI 2.27 to 5.58) but lower odds of reporting high information provision (aOR 0.14; 95% CI 0.09 to 0.23). Seven of eight abortion outcomes showed no differences; pharmacy clients had lower odds of knowing what to do if an adverse event occurred (aOR 0.45; 95% CI 0.23 to 0.82).

Conclusions: In Bangladesh, there is no difference in client-reported quality of medication abortion care between health facilities and pharmacies for the majority of quality and outcome indicators. However, information provision and preparedness were higher quality at facilities, while pharmacies were more affordable.