Training Medical Students To Provide Medical Abortion: An Interview With Dr. Srinivasan

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On Monday June 25th, HowToUse launched the newest edition to our online medical abortion courses for health care professionals: a safe medical abortion course designed specifically for medical students.

Health care providers' need for a medical abortion course

In honor of the new resource, we sat down for an interview with Dr. Karthik Srinivasan, an independent sexual and reproductive health consultant, to learn more about why access to safe medical abortion information is imperative for health care providers in training. Slight edits have been made for the sake of formatting.

Interviewer: To start, can you explain a little about what medical abortion is?

Dr. Srinivasan: Medical abortion is a process of using either misoprostol alone or in combination to end a pregnancy. This technology is a safe and effective method recommended by WHO It has comparable success rates to a surgical abortion in early pregnancy and has revolutionized the thinking and practice of safe abortion care.

Interviewer: And what makes medical abortion a unique option within abortion care?

Dr. Srinivasan: Medical abortion is unique in that it provides an opportunity for the woman herself to play a significant role in the delivery of care, should she wish for it. It has in many ways changed the traditional healthcare provider-patient dynamic significantly. Medical abortion allows for women to take greater responsibility, including a lead in the provision of safe abortion care, and can often require providers to play a supportive role instead of a traditional mainstream one.

Interviewer: What do you think is key for medical students to understand while providing safe abortion options to women?

Dr. Srinivasan: Healthcare providers both in practice and training, such as medical students, should be aware of the principles of rights of clients and ethics in the provision of safe abortion care. Understanding these roles in care and providing adequate and timely support can ensure respectful care to women seeking a medical abortion.

Interviewer: How does HowToUse’s new resource for medical students support health care providers in caring for women undergoing a medical abortion?

Dr. Srinivasan: HowToUse’s curriculum for medical students is based on a strong rights-based framework and acknowledges that medical abortion is a process that requires nuanced support roles during the different stages of the process. It is a bold attempt to also introduce core principles of rights, respectful care and ethics for future healthcare providers and leaders on a sensitive and often polarising topic.

Safe abortion courses are imperative

If you or someone you know is a medical student or provider interested in learning more about safe medical abortion, be sure to visit us online or follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Flipboard. You can also visit our new course for medical students here.

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