“Fear, Shame and Embarrassment”: The Stigma Factor in Post Abortion Care at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi, Ghana

  •  Eva Tagoe-Darko    


Using qualitative data on post abortion care services at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana, the paper explored evidence of social stigma as a factor in post abortion care. Results from 6 focus group discussions, 10 narratives and observations identified three areas of stigma. The Patients (perspective and experience), the Providers (the medical environment and setting) and the Community (family, relations and peers). Evidence from the focus group discussions, narratives and observations suggested social stigma as a significant factor in the process of pre-marital sex, abortion and post abortion care. At the individual level there was fear, shame and embarrassment. The medical setting was judgmental, indifferent and/or showed disdain while there was moral consensus, the morality of abortion by family, peers and community. In recognition of the dangers inherent in unsafe abortion outside the medical setting and in view of the fact that death from complications of unsafe abortion is preventable, these findings have implications for intervention and policy. The paper recommended collective effort to addressing all three areas of stigma and post abortion care. Sustained education, sensitization and dissemination using all available channels including traditional teachings and practices to reduce stigma and provide safer alternatives were suggested.

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