Six months after a Comprehensive Abortion Care project was implemented in Phu-San Hospital, the main maternity hospital in Hai Phòng, northern Viet Nam, a study of quality of abortion services was carried out. The study explored the interaction between providers and women seeking abortion and how cultural values influenced quality of care. A quantitative and qualitative approach was employed: a three-part structured survey with 748 women before and after they had an abortion, 20 in-depth interviews with women just after abortion, seven informal interviews with health care staff and 100 participant observations. Both the women and the staff equated quality of care mainly with improved technical performance of abortion. Insufficient knowledge and skills had a negative impact on provision of information and good quality counselling in relation to understanding and uptake of contraception, treating reproductive tract infection and preventing post-abortion infection. To further improve abortion care in hospitals such as Phu-San, training programmes are needed that integrate counselling and clinical skills and address the cultural factors that hinder health staff and women from interacting in an equitable manner. A supportive supervisory system that holds health staff accountable for conducting high quality information and counselling sessions should also be established.
Keywords: Abortion, Induced; Adolescent; Adult; Aftercare; Counseling; Cultural Characteristics; Female; Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice; Hospitals, Maternity; Humans; Middle Aged; Pregnancy; Professional-Patient Relations; Quality Indicators, Health Care; Quality of Health Care; Questionnaires; Vietnam; Women's Health