Table 1

Abortion incidence rates from direct reporting (respondents) and confidante method, annualised over the past 3 years

N (unweighted)NationalNorthern zoneMiddle zoneCoastal zone
Rate95% CIRate95% CIRate95% CIRate95% CI
 All abortions (reported abortions+MR*)47133024 to 37106 to 172916 to 533721 to 66
 Only reported abortions (no MR*)2016 to 2563 to 11189 to 382713 to 55
 Confidante #130404137 to 45NANANANANANA
 Confidante #27373629 to 45NANANANANANA
 Confidante #31533017 to 50NANANANANANA
 All confidantes39304036 to 442015 to 274236 to 484439 to 50
 Adjusted for missing confidantes†3835 to 411813 to 224036 to 444338 to 47
 Adjusted for transmission bias‡6156 to 653426 to 436357 to 697163 to 79
  • Northern zone includes Upper West, Upper East and Northern regions; Middle zone includes Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern and Volta regions; Coastal zone includes Western, Central and Greater Accra regions.

  • *MR or action to bring back a late period without necessarily knowing whether one is pregnant.

  • †The 33% of respondents who reported no confidantes had different demographic characteristics and a lower abortion rate than those with at least one confidante. Assuming confidantes are similar to respondents on the aggregate, these ‘missing’ confidantes may have significantly different abortion behaviours than those in the data, which would affect the incidence rate. Thus, we predicted the likelihood of recent abortion for the missing confidante of each confidante-less respondent, using Poisson regression with the respondent’s sociodemographic characteristics as covariates.29 30 We then calculated the confidante abortion rates including the missing confidantes’ data.

  • ‡Adjusted for potential non-disclosure of some confidantes’ abortions to the respondent. Based on an assumption of reciprocity, such that confidante X is as likely to disclose her abortion to the respondent as the respondent is to disclose an abortion to confidante X, we asked respondents who reported an abortion in the past 3 years whether they had disclosed it to each of their confidantes. We calculated the proportion of respondents who disclosed to each confidante (1, 2, 3), took the inverse of this proportion as the transmission bias factor, computed an average of all three factors (weighted on the number of confidantes) and applied it to the incidence rate adjusted for missing confidantes.

  • MR, menstrual regulation; NA, not applicable.