WHO indicators for monitoring safe access to abortion

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

The Maternal Health Group (of the London School of Hygiene Tropical Medicine) collaborates with the Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research of the World Health Organization to review indicators on provision and access to safe abortion. Unsafe abortion remains a global public health issue, with 8% of maternal deaths worldwide caused by abortion complications. Through the results of the review, the WHO aims at improving monitoring and evaluation activities for safe abortion programme across the globe.

The main activities undertaken by the Maternal Health Group consist in identifying and evaluating existing indicators of provision and access to safe abortion services, as well as assessing their validity and their potential for use routinely or at scale. In order to do this, the MHG carried out a scoping review of published and grey literature. It prepared an M&E conceptual framework to map out the indicators. A list of reviewed indicators were discussed at a WHO technical consultation meeting. Eventually, a shortened list of recommended indicators for use at country level and by programme will be drawn up and agreed through a process of consultation.

Spreadsheet with list of 792 indicators identified by a scoping review of abortion indicators (2008-2018)

The above spreadsheet includes the long list of indicators identified by our scoping review. Each indicator is referenced and has information on its measurement domain and data sources. This spreadsheet has also been published as web appendix in the following article: Filippi et al. Abortion metrics: a scoping review of abortion measures and indicators. BMJ Global Health. 2021.

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