Early detection of pregnancy is important for initiating antenatal care (ANC) for an intended pregnancy and for seeking safe abortion care for an unintended pregnancy. Lack of certainty about pregnancy status can cause delays in seeking ANC or abortion. Further, early identification of an unwanted pregnancy is important so women can access abortion services before they exceed the legally allowed gestational limit. A recent study in Nepal revealed that only 42% of all abortions are provided legally in government-approved health facilities.
Nepal boasts a wide network of Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs), who are recognized for providing trusted information about basic maternal, neonatal, and child health care and safe abortion services (SAS) at the community level. Additionally, they serve as a link between communities and public health facilities. FCHVs trained for early pregnancy detection have been identified as a potential channel for referring women to appropriate reproductive health services after a pregnancy test2. The effectiveness of early pregnancy detection and referral (EPDR) by FCHVs in hard-to-reach areas of Nepal is yet to be established. This study aimed to assess the additive benefit of an FCHV EPDR intervention on women’s use of safe abortion services.