Co-creation strategies for identifying abortion research gaps in Nigeria towards research capacity strengthening for early to midcareer abortion researchers

Akanni Akinyemi, Center for Research, Evaluation Resources and Development (CRERD) Adesegun Fatusi, Guttmacher Institute Ojo Agunbiade Olaitan Oyedun Oladimeji Ogunoye Melissa Stillman, Guttmacher Institute Onikepe Owolabi, Guttmacher Institute Akinrinola Bankole, Guttmacher Institute

First published on African Journal of Reproductive Health:

Abstract / Summary


This paper highlights the significant gaps in research skills and capacity within the field of abortion research in Nigeria. Abortion research in the country remains marginal in terms of outputs and policy engagement. In Nigeria, the abortion discourse is embedded in a complex legal and cultural landscape, fostering a value system that hampers innovative research and critical engagement with unsafe abortion and post-abortion care. This value system further contributes to the lack of comprehensive research, exacerbating the dearth of skills and knowledge necessary for a thorough analysis of the abortion situation. This paper outlines a co-creation process and framework that addresses these skill and knowledge gaps, essential for a critical examination of abortion issues and for generating research outputs that can influence policy. The co-creative approach detailed in this paper involves collaboration with diverse stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, policymakers, and community leaders. This collaboration aims to map the current research landscape and identify areas that require deeper investigation. By integrating the Nominal Group Technique with key interviews, the study fosters collaborative dialogue and idea generation, leading to an enhanced understanding of abortionrelated issues. Our findings indicate significant deficiencies in the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively analyse the impacts of socio-cultural stigma about abortion, restrictive abortion laws and limited access to safe abortion services on the physical and mental health of women. The paper discusses the methodologies used in identifying these gaps and the challenges faced in abortion research in Nigeria, with an emphasis on providing actionable insights for policymakers and healthcare providers. These insights are intended to address the critical health and social issues related to abortion in Nigeria, moving beyond academic discourse to effect real changes in abortion-related programs and policies.