The WHO in Malawi supports College of Medicine and Welcome Trust with equipment for the multicounty survey on abortion related morbidity

Lilongwe 15 May: The World Health Organization country office in Malawi handed over equipment to the College of Medicine and the Welcome Trust. The equipment will be used by the two research institutions to collect data for the WHO Multi-Country Survey (MCS) on abortion related morbidity. The equipment to the Malawi College of Medicine comprised 30 Tablets with windows 10 and their mouse, 30 headphones, 31 USB adapters and 29 memory cards while the Welcome Trust received seven child infantometers (child board), seven digital baby scales, seven mother alone and mother and child together weight scales, 70 middle and upper arm circumference tapes and seven maternal measuring tapes.

Handing over the equipment to the two research institutions Dr Eugene Nyarko, the WHO Representative for Malawi said that the main aim of the Multi-Country Survey on maternal and newborn health was to capture accurate information on abortion which is a challenge in health facilities. According to WHO, abortion accounts for 8% [4.7-13.2] of maternal mortality worldwide (Say et al, 2014). “Since the survey focus is abortion only, WHO anticipates a more accurate picture of the burden of abortion-related complications presenting to the facilities, which would also inform a standard measurement criterion for severity” Dr Nyarko said.  “In addition, the management of complications, abortion safety and experience of care will be investigated with the aim of identifying policy and implementation gaps according to the recommendations from the WHO Safe Abortion guidelines and WHO quality of care framework for pregnant women and newborns,” the WHO Representative added.

The background to this initiative is that in 2010, the WHO Multi-Country survey on Maternal and Newborn Health collected data on over 300,000 women who were admitted in health facilities to receive pregnancy related care across 29 countries.  Concerning abortion, the MCS only collected data on women with severe maternal outcomes such as near miss or maternal deaths according to Dragoman et al 2014. The MCS abortion related data showed underreporting of the abortion related morbidity and mortality and emphasized the need for providing evidence-based abortion services.  

In light of these findings, the WHO is supporting 30 countries across the WHO regions of Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Eastern Mediterranean. In Africa the countries are Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda. The purpose is to implement these multi-country surveys building on the experiences of the prior MCS to better capture the burden, severity and management of abortion-related complications among women presenting to the facilities. The projected timeline is three years. Collaboration with the 30 facilities will establish a global network and strengthen capacity in abortion-related research and offer a wide range of future research opportunities. 


1-Dr Eugene Nyarko, WHO Representative and Dr Mwapatsa Mipando, the Principal of College of Medicine examining computer tablets and key boards with windows 10, USB adapters and headphones that will aide MCS data collection

2-Right Dr Eugene Nyarko, WR and Mr Edward Ngulube of Welcome Trust examining maternal health equipment for the Multi country survey

3-WR in the middle COM left and Welcome trust right

Click image to enlarge