Medical Abortion Training Course For Medical Students
HowToUse is proud to announce that on Monday June 25th, we will be releasing our new online medical abortion course designed specifically to support medical students.
Divided into seven lessons, the course will cover a comprehensive review of the anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology of medical abortion. Medical students will also review how to properly screen women for medical abortion eligibility, dispense medications safely, and provide post-abortion care, including future family planning options. All content is aligned with standards of practice established by the World Health Organization.
The medical student course will be offered online, free of charge, and will require no registration or membership. The course is just one in a series of training resources designed to equip health care providers with access to complete and accurate information about safe abortion. HowToUse released a pharmacist course earlier in March.
Why Focus On Medical Students?
But why, you may be asking, is HowToUse focused on medical students? Don’t medical students already receive training about abortion in medical school? The sad truth of the matter is- No, not always.
Whether or not a medical school chooses to address abortion within its curriculum depends on a number of factors: local and national laws, resource availability, social stigma, and cultural taboos all influence how medical schools broach the topic.
Take, for example, the United States. Although abortion was nationally legalized in 1973, it remains at the core of some of the country’s most fervent political and cultural battles. In a 2005 survey of US medical schools, 23% reported offering “no formal education” about abortion, and 55% admitted to offering their medical students no clinical exposure. A 2013 survey of medical residents specifically within OB-GYN programs found that only 54% of respondents received “routine training” for abortion.
From The Physician’s Perspective
To get a better sense of the complexity of the problem, HowToUse asked one of our closely partnering physicians to share his thoughts on abortion training in medical school. Dr. TA, as he will be referred to, is based in Uganda.
Unsafe abortions in Uganda have greatly contributed to the current rates of maternal mortality. Stigma, lack of access to medical care, and unqualified abortion providers are leading causes of unsafe abortion.
Abortion is a sensitive topic within the Obstetrics and Gynecology curriculum of Ugandan medical schools. The majority of Ugandan medical institutions prefer to focus on post-abortion care. But ironically, if women had safe abortion options to begin with, there would be minimal post-abortion complications that required treatment.
Little or no effort is made to teach medical students how to provide safe medical abortion using available medications. And although surgical options are taught as part of managing post-abortion care, there is a wide knowledge gap amongst health professionals.
One way to empower future health professionals and medical abortion providers is to equip them with the knowledge and resources they need to help manage abortions safely. Medical Students For Choice has been doing great work in this area: most recently they’ve been coordinating workshops to train providers how to properly use Manual Vacuum Aspiration kits.
Over the years, HowToUseAbortionPill.org has provided millions of women with information about how to have a safe abortion with pills. Introducing an online course to support medical student training is a quick, easy and much needed platform to bridge the information gap left from medical school.
As a Doctor and provider, I highly encourage medical students to enroll for the course, acquire accurate information, and empower themselves to support women as they make informed choices.
If you or someone you know is a medical student or provider interested in learning more about safe medical abortion, be sure to follow us for the upcoming release of our medical student course: