Communities Taking Action to Improve Health: Changing the Story of Post-Abortion Care in Kenya

In Kenya, maternal health complications are a leading cause of morbidity among women. Kenya’s Rift Valley Province has consistently had the highest level of abortion-related outpatient morbidity in the country since at least 2003.

Post-Abortion Care in Rift Valley Province, Kenya.

Photo Credit: M. Wahome/EngenderHealth

This was the reality facing the RESPOND project in 2009. Efforts began to create an environment in which the community would work together to prevent unintended or mistimed pregnancies and ensure access to quality care for women with postabortion complications.

At that time, RESPOND designed the Community Mobilization for Post-Abortion Care (COMMPAC) intervention. This package aims to address PAC and increase family planning uptake by focusing on the central role that communities can play in improving access to services and taking action for improved health.

COMMPAC fosters engagement through local participation, raising awareness about PAC and supporting community members to seek care. By making this a community effort, existing community resources are leveraged, which helps in two critical ways. Firstly, it reduces the stigma associated with PAC since the entire community is acknowledging the need to help one another. Secondly, it ultimately improves well-being and responsiveness to ongoing health issues. The culture grows into one of communicating about health – and helping each other when there are so few resources.

This project model was utilized in a follow-on project when, in 2010, RESPOND again worked with additional districts and communities to expand COMMPAC and evaluate its impact.

The stated goal of the project was to Increase communities‘ awareness and use of PAC and related services to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity by:

  • Increasing community knowledge of the danger signs of abortion-related complications, locations of services, and family planning (FP)–related information and services
  • Building capacity to address PAC and FP needs
  • Encouraging involvement of marginalized in community action
  • Mobilizing communities to prevent and treat incomplete abortion
  • Strengthening service delivery points providing PAC and FP

Find out more about the project, its evaluation, and the lessons learned in the latest Health COMpass Spotlight, Communities Take Action: Post Abortion Care in Kenya.

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