Home Institution

Tufts University

Publication Date

Fall 12-1-2014

Program Name

Argentina: Public Health in Urban Environments


Background: In Argentina, abortion is illegal under all circumstances except for when a woman has been raped, has a mental disability or her life is in danger. There are approximately 500,000 abortions practiced each year in Argentina, and the majority is performed in an unsafe manner, which can result in complications that require medical attention. In 2010, over 50,000 women were hospitalized because of complications post-abortion. These complications can include hemorrhages, infections, or other toxic illnesses. After the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994 they identified post-abortion care as a worldwide problem. Subsequently, Argentina created a guide for specific procedures and protocols for doctors and health professionals to follow in order to improve the quality of this treatment. Even though the guide specified all protocols to be followed, past research has showed an array of results. These results have shown that hospitals do not always follow the recommended guidelines, resulting in continued low quality of post-abortion care. This investigation focuses on the perceptions and opinions of various health professionals around post-abortion care in a hospital in La Matanza. Methodology: This investigation explores the perceptions and opinions of doctors and health professionals around the quality of post-abortion care in a public hospital located in Buenos Aires Province. The objective is to investigate the demographics of the women that seek post-abortion care at this hospital, the specific protocols followed when treating these women, and the resources and trainings that they have available in the hospital. This research investigation is qualitative. The final paper includes secondary information as well as primary information collected from fieldwork. This project included eight interviews with diverse health professionals at a hospital in La Matanza where they were asked about their perceptions and experiences about this topic. One additional interview was conducted with a researcher that is specifically involved in investigating the quality of post-abortion care. Results: From the perspective of various professionals, the women that come to the hospital seeking post-abortion treatment are generally of a variety of different ages, are of low socioeconomic status, come from a range of cultures and reside in La Matanza. The women almost never divulge the reasons for why they sought treatment and the results displayed that it was common for the doctors to blame the women for this situation. The health professionals also identified various obstacles to treatment including lack of resources, lack of sexual education and various ideological beliefs that the providers held. Because of the lack of specific trainings around this issue, they also identified the need for an interdisciplinary team of professionals as well as focused and intensive trainings specifically around the topic of post-abortion care. Although the guide created by the Ministry of Health specifically details the protocols and procedures to follow, this investigation found many other factors that affect the quality of treatment and that are necessary to address in order to improve post-abortion care at this hospital.


Community Health | Family, Life Course, and Society | Gender and Sexuality | Health and Medical Administration | Health Economics | Health Services Research | International and Area Studies | Latin American Studies | Maternal and Child Health | Medical Education | Medical Humanities | Medicine and Health Sciences | Women's Health


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