Population Services International (PSI) will pilot an accompaniment model to provide comprehensive information and emotional support to women with unwanted pregnancies in Mali.
Quality in reproductive and sexual health services means removing all barriers to access, including internal emotional barriers, and lasting throughout the entire process, not just at the intersection of provider and client.
One of the challenges women face when seeking information about medication abortion is understanding the process, what to expect, and when and where to seek follow up care, if necessary. To address this challenge, PSI will pilot an “accompaniment model” that provides women with comprehensive information and emotional support throughout their medication abortion, contraceptive counseling, and linkages to post-abortion care and contraceptive services. Eligible women seeking information and care from clinical providers will be paired with a companion, either in person or by phone. The companion will be trained to answer questions and provide information about medication abortion, including what to expect and appropriate follow-up care. This pilot, based on accompaniment models of care in Latin America, will complement PSI’s existing programming addressing the needs of the women who do not return to providers for follow-up. By providing a trained companion to women, PSI aims to improve the quality and safety of services, especially for young women who suffer disproportionally from abortion-related complications. This one-year project will launch in 2019.
In addition to information, quality services and medical abortion pills, women need emotional support and empathy throughout the process in order to maximize safety, effectiveness and quality of care.