which is the second most common cause of maternal mortality in the country.
The study is supported by the World Health Organization, and is aimed at improving maternal
health in developing nations, as chartered in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
The research is led by UCC Population and Health lecturer Doctor Akwasi Kumi Kyereme and
looks at the use of labour-inducing drug misoprostol which can also be legally used to terminate
pregnancy in 80 countries if it is administered by a health professional.
The researchers are looking at cases over five countries including Ghana, when this drug is not
administered by a professional, and the effects it can cause when it is not managed.
“We have realised that the use of misoprostol, one of the drugs for pregnancy induction and is
listed on the WHO, the use is on the increase, and anecdotal evidence suggests that more and more
females who try to terminate pregnancy take this drug.
“We realise that when they take this is reduces the severity of abortion complications.”
Some abortions in Ghana are legal, such as pregnancy from rape, incest or if the pregnancy will
cause ill-health to the mother or child.
Dr Kumi Kyereme said that the drug was being abused when it was not prescribed properly,
but evidence so far has suggested it is a safer alternative than other ways of unprofessionally
“We don't support abuse but it is evident that those who use it have less severe complications than
those who use other methods.”
The research is divided into three phases and involves interviews with providers of post-abortion
care, looks at the symptoms women may suffer from abortions and the third phase involves in-depth
interviews with those who have had an abortion, using the drug or other means.
The study will also look at developing nations Bhutan, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Nigeria, started last
year and is expected to be finished later this year.