To assess pharmacy workers’ knowledge and provision of abortion information and methods in Kenya.
In 2013 we interviewed 235 pharmacy workers in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu about the medical abortion services they provide. We also used mystery clients, who made 401 visits to pharmacies to collect first-hand information on abortion practices.
The majority (87.5%) of pharmacy workers had heard of misoprostol but only 39.2% had heard of mifepristone. We found that pharmacy workers had limited knowledge of correct medical abortion regimens, side effects and complications and the legal status of abortion drugs. 49.8% of pharmacy workers reported providing abortion information to clients and 4.3% reported providing abortion methods. 75.2% of pharmacies referred mystery clients to another provider, though 64.2% of pharmacies advised mystery clients to continue with their pregnancy. Pharmacy workers reported that they were experiencing demand for abortion services from clients.
Pharmacy workers are important providers of information and referrals for women seeking abortion, however their medical abortion knowledge is limited. Training pharmacy workers on medical abortion may improve the quality of information provided and access to safe abortion.