Global and regional estimates of health system costs of unsafe abortion
Michael Vlassoff, Guttmacher Institute
Jessica Shearer, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Damian Walker, Johns Hopkins University
David Newlands, University of Aberdeen
The aim of this paper is to estimate the global and regional economic impact of post-abortion care on the health system. We used two methods to estimate the cost of post-abortion care. The first derived the average cost of care per post-abortion patient from 24 available studies. The second ‘bottom-up’ approach applied the WHO Mother-Baby Package, supplemented with empirical data on the cost of specific components of care. The mean cost of post-abortion care from the literature was estimated to lie in the range $67-$129 (2006 US$) per patient. Globally, post-abortion care costs health systems $380 to $680 million each year in direct costs. Using the ‘bottom-up’ method resulted in a worldwide estimate of direct costs of $463 million (central estimate). Post-abortion care constitutes a significant financial burden on public health systems in the developing world and is more costly than providing safe abortion or ensuring access to contraceptive services.