An analysis of the cost of incomplete abortion to the public health sector in South Africa - 1994

Bonnie J. Kay, Judy Katzenellenbogen, Sue Fawcus, Salim Abdool Karim

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To analyse the medical costs incurred in treating women for incomplete abortion. This study was performed in conjunction with a nationwide survey of women who presented to public hospitals with incomplete abortion in 1994. Design. Cost analysis with two modified Delphi panels used to develop models of resource use reflecting three severity categories of symptoms and three hospital treatment settings. Setting. Public hospitals in South Africa. Participants. A panel of 15 senior level obstetrician/gynaecologists and a second panel of 11 patient care managers representing district, regional and tertiary level hospitals in 7 provinces. Main results. A conservative estimate of the total cost of treating women is R18.7 million ± R3.5 million for 1994. An estimated R9.74 million ± R1.3 million of this was spent treating women with 'unsafe' incomplete abortions. Conclusions. The management of incomplete abortion requires significant public sector expenditure. The long-term indirect costs to women, their families and communities are discussed and treatment costs estimated so that unmet needs for medical care resulting from unsafe abortions can be addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-447
Number of pages6
JournalSouth African Medical Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes


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