Sexual and reproductive health

Mid-level health-care providers are a safe alternative to doctors for first-trimester abortions in developing countries

Social science research policy brief

UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP)

Front page

Publication details

Number of pages: 2
Publication date: 2008
Languages: English
WHO reference number: WHO/RHR/HRP/08.15 - Web only


In circumstances where the law permits termination of pregnancy, access to safe induced abortion may still be restricted by limited availability of trained health-care providers. In most countries where abortion is legal, only doctors are authorized to provide first-trimester abortions. To increase access to safe first-trimester abortion and conserve scarce health resources, some countries have trained nurses, midwives and mid-level health-care providers such as doctor assistants. These health-care providers are generally cost-effective and may work in areas where doctors are scarce, providing health services to underserved populations.

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