Journal Article

Clients’ perceptions of the quality of care in Mexico City’s public sector legal abortion program

Context
In 2007, first-trimester abortion was legalized in Mexico City. Limited research has been conducted to understand clients’ perceptions of the abortion services available in public-sector facilities.

Methods
Perceptions of quality of care were measured among 402 women aged 18 or older who had obtained abortions at any of three public-sector sites in Mexico City in 2009. Six domains of quality of care (client-staff interaction, information provision, technical competence, postabortion contraceptive services, accessibility and the facility environment) were assessed, and ordinal logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify the domains that were important in women’s overall evaluation of care.

Results
Clients gave overall services a high rating, with a mean of 8.8 out of 10. In multivariate analysis, overall ratings were higher among women who said the doctor made them feel comfortable (odds ratio, 3.3), the receptionist was respectful (1.7), the staff was very careful to protect their privacy (2.5), they had received sufficient information on self-care at home following the abortion and on postabortion emotions (1.9 and 2.0, respectively) and they felt confident in the doctor’s technical skill (2.5). Rating site hours as very convenient (2.4), waiting time as acceptable (2.8) and the facility as very clean (1.9) were all associated with higher overall scores. Compared with women who had given birth, those who had not rated the services lower overall (0.6).

Conclusion
Efforts to improve patient experiences with abortion services should focus on client-staff interaction, information provision, service accessibility, technical competence and the facility environment. The most highly significant factor appears to be whether a doctor makes a woman feel comfortable during her visit.