Meeting Health Care Needs of Women Experiencing Complications of Miscarriage and Unsafe Abortion: USAID's Postabortion Care Program


  • Carolyn Curtis CNM, MSN

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    • Carolyn Curtis, CNM, MSN, FACNM, is the team leader for the postabortion care (PAC) working group at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Cognizant Technical Officer for the ACQUIRE project. Ms. Curtis provides oversight and technical assistance to all global postabortion care programs funded by USAID.

Address correspondence to Carolyn Curtis, CNM, MSN, FACNM, Public Health Specialist, USAID, Global Health Bureau, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Room 3.6.56, Washington, DC 20523. E-mail:


Each year, an estimated 210 million women become pregnant. Worldwide, more than one fourth of these pregnancies will end in abortion or an unplanned birth. While many abortions may result from the desire to delay or avoid pregnancy, 15% to 20% of pregnancies will end in miscarriage or stillbirth with some causative agents being malaria, HIV/AIDS, and physical violence. Postabortion care (PAC) is needed to provide treatment for complications caused by incomplete or spontaneous abortion and critical family planning counseling and services to prevent future unplanned pregnancies that may result in repeat abortions. In 2003, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) initiated a 5-year strategy wherein seven countries were provided financial funding and technical assistance. Since 2003, more than 3000 women have been seen in health centers and health posts for PAC services; more than 14,000 community members have received messages on unsafe abortion; family planning, and complications of unsafe abortion and miscarriage; and more than 600 documents were reviewed for inclusion in a global PAC resource package. This package has been used for developing Cambodia's national PAC policy and for developing patient education materials and provider job aids in Cambodia and Tanzania. These promising methodologies will be replicated in other countries.