Improving stigma and psychosocial outcomes among post-abortion Kenyan women attending private clinics: A randomized controlled trial of a person-centered mobile phone-based intervention

PLoS One. 2022 Jun 24;17(6):e0270637. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0270637. eCollection 2022.


Objectives: The objective of this study was to evaluate a person-centered abortion care mobile-based intervention on perceived social stigma, social support, mental health and post-abortion care experiences among Kenyan women who received abortion services at private clinics.

Methods: This randomized controlled study enrolled women who obtained an abortion from private clinics in Nairobi county, Kenya and randomized them into one of three study arms: 1) standard of care (follow-up by service provider call center); 2) post-abortion phone follow-up by a peer counselor (a woman who has had an abortion herself and is trained in person-centered abortion care); or 3) post-abortion phone follow-up by a nurse (a nurse who is trained in person-centered abortion care). All participants were followed-up at two- and four-weeks post-abortion to evaluate intervention effects on mental health, social support, and abortion-related stigma scores. A Kruskal-Wallis one-way ANOVA test was used to assess the effect of each intervention compared to the control group. In total, 371 women participated at baseline and were each randomized to the study arms.

Results: Using Kruskal-Wallis tests, the nurse arm improved mental health scores from baseline to week two; however this was only marginally significant (p = 0.059). The nurse arm also lowered stigma scores from baseline to week four, and this was marginally significant (p = 0.099). No other differences were found between the study arms. This person-centered mobile phone-based intervention may improve mental health and decrease perceived stigma among Kenyan women who received abortion services in private clinics.

Conclusions: Nurses trained in person-centered abortion care, in particular, may improve women's experiences post-abortion and potentially reduce feelings of shame and stigma and improve mental health in this context.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced* / psychology
  • Cell Phone*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kenya
  • Pregnancy
  • Social Stigma

Grant support

This study was funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (Award Number 2015-62545) (PI: MS). MS, AL, SYC, CAS, and BP received salary support from the award. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.