Medical abortion and pharmacies
“Can I buy abortion pills at the pharmacy?”
“Which chemist shop sells the pills?”
“Are there drugstores near me with misoprostol?”
The above are some of the most frequent questions that HowToUse fields daily from our online users, and with good reason. For millions of women living around the world, pharmacists are often the most accessible health care resource within their community.
With quick access to medical supplies and information, pharmacists have been accredited with addressing some of the globe’s most pervasive sexual health concerns, including contraceptive access and care for sexually transmitted infections. Now leaders within the sexual and reproductive health community are looking to pharmacists as key stakeholders for perhaps the most glaring global reproductive health crisis: access to safe abortion.
According to the most recent estimates from the World Health Organization, 25 million unsafe abortions occur worldwide each year. Accounting for roughly 45% of all pregnancy terminations, these unsafe abortions are responsible for driving 7 million women to seek emergency care in hospitals each year, and are annually costing global providers approximately USD $553 million in treatment expenses.
Multiple studies have emerged in the past several years confirming that, when properly trained, pharmacists are capable of providing safe and effective medical abortion care (or abortion with pills) to women. In one particular study, 96.9%-98.8% of all women seeking medical abortion through a trained pharmacist had a complete and effective abortion, with no women reporting serious complications.
Free online medical abortion course for pharmacists
So does access to a pharmacy stocked with abortion medication ensure a safe abortion? Not quite. Studies ranging from Kenya to Bangladesh, Senegal, and Nepal all echo the same critical message: pharmacists need increased access to reliable information about safe medical abortion.
And that’s where HowToUse comes in. For three years, HowToUse has been a one-stop site for women seeking information about safe medical abortion. Now HowToUse is mobilizing its resources to expand information access to key safe abortion stakeholders around the world, like pharmacists.
HowToUse is excited to announce that on Monday March 5th, we will be releasing our first-ever online medical abortion course designed specifically for pharmacists. The short six module online lessons will be hosted on our website, and will provide pharmacists with the information they need to safely screen women for eligibility, dispense medications, instruct clients, and answer questions.
All courses will be offered on our website free of charge, with no registration or membership necessary. The content will be offered in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Swahili, and will available in video, audio, or text format.
To be clear: the medical abortion course is not designed to certify, authorize, or otherwise replace medical training for providers. Rather, HowToUse hopes that by removing barriers between pharmacists and reliable information, we can help contribute to a global movement towards accessible, safe options for women, and reduced global rates of maternal morbidity and mortality.
Join us in celebrating the release of our online medical abortion course for pharmacists on Monday March 5th by visiting our website and sharing our resources.