Estimating the Annual Incidence of Abortions in Iran Applying a Network Scale-up Approach

Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2014 Oct 5;16(10):e15765. doi: 10.5812/ircmj.15765. eCollection 2014 Oct.


Background: Abortions are of major public health concern in developing countries. In settings in which abortion is highly prohibited, the direct interview is not a reliable method to estimate the abortion rate. The indirect estimation methods to measure the rate of abortion might overcome this dilemma; They are practical methods to estimate the size of the hidden group who do not agree to participate in a direct interview.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the practicality of an indirect method for estimating the abortion rate , Known as Network Scale-up, and to provide an estimate about the episode of abortion with and without medical indications (AWMI+ and AWMI-) in Iran.

Materials and methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in 31 provinces of Iran in 2012. A random sample between 200 and 1000 was selected in each province by the multistage sampling method that 75% of the data were collected from the capital and 25% from one main city. We selected samples from urban people more than 18 years old (12960) and we asked them about the number of abortion in women they knew who had experienced the medical and non-medical abortions in the past year. A range for the transparency factor was estimated based on the expert opinion.

Results: The range of the transparency factors for AWMI+ and AWOMI- were 0.43-0.75 and 0.2-0.34, respectively. Regarding the AWMI+, our minimum and maximum estimations (per 1000 pregnancies) were 70.54 and 116.9, respectively. The corresponding figures for AWMI- were 93.18, and 148.7.

Conclusions: The frequency rates for AWMI+ and AWMI- were relatively high. Therefore, the system has to address to this hidden problem using the appropriate preventive policies.

Keywords: Abortion; Iran; Network Scale-Up; Size Estimation.