Temporal trends and spatial distribution of unsafe abortion in Brazil, 1996-2012

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Abstract

Objective: To analyze temporal trends and distribution patterns of unsafe abortion in Brazil. Methods: Ecological study based on records of hospital admissions of women due to abortion in Brazil between 1996 and 2012, obtained from the Hospital Information System of the Ministry of Health. We estimated the number of unsafe abortions stratified by place of residence, using indirect estimate techniques. The following indicators were calculated: ratio of unsafe abortions/100 live births and rate of unsafe abortion/1,000 women of childbearing age. We analyzed temporal trends through polynomial regression and spatial distribution using municipalities as the unit of analysis. Results: In the study period, a total of 4,007,327 hospital admissions due to abortions were recorded in Brazil. We estimated a total of 16,905,911 unsafe abortions in the country, with an annual mean of 994,465 abortions (mean unsafe abortion rate: 17.0 abortions/1,000 women of childbearing age, ratio of unsafe abortions: 33.2/100 live births). Unsafe abortion presented a declining trend at national level (R2: 94.0%, p < 0.001), with unequal patterns between regions. There was a significant reduction of unsafe abortion in the Northeast (R2: 93.0%, p < 0.001), Southeast (R2: 92.0%, p < 0.001) and Central-West regions (R2: 64.0%, p < 0.001), whereas the North (R2: 39.0%, p = 0.030) presented an increase, and the South (R2: 22.0%, p = 0.340) remained stable. Spatial analysis identified the presence of clusters of municipalities with high values for unsafe abortion, located mainly in states of the North, Northeast and Southeast Regions. Conclusions: Unsafe abortion remains a public health problem in Brazil, with marked regional differences, mainly concentrated in the socioeconomically disadvantaged regions of the country. Qualification of attention to women's health, especially to reproductive aspects and attention to pre- and post-abortion processes, are necessary and urgent strategies to be implemented in the country.

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Martins-Melo, F. R., Lima, M. da S., Alencar, C. H., Ramos, A. N., Carvalho, F. H. C., Machado, M. M. T., & Heukelbach, J. (2014). Temporal trends and spatial distribution of unsafe abortion in Brazil, 1996-2012. Revista de Saude Publica, 48(3), 508–520. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0034-8910.2014048004878

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