Photo courtesy of standard media
In Kenya unsafe abortion has for long been recognized as a leading cause of death and injury among women in their prime ages.
Most of these abortions are made necessary by unintended pregnancies which continue to be extremely high in Kenya and throughout Africa.
In 2012, a research conducted among 328 public and private health facilities across the nation by the Ministry of Health to establish the extent of unsafe abortion and the characteristics of women seeking abortion related care revealing Several shocking discoveries among them:
~ Nearly 465,000 induced abortions occured in 2012 translating to an abortion rate of 48 per 1000 women of reproductive age. This was highest in Rift Valley and Nyanza regions ( 64 and 63 per 1000 women respectively).
~ Nearly 120,000 women received care for complications resulting from unsafe abortions in health facilities in 2012.
~ More than 3/4 of women who were treated for post~abortion care had moderate or severe complications including high fever, sepsis, shock, or organ failure which in most cases require extensive treatment or hospitalization.
~ Young women suffered disprotionately as 45% of women aged 19 and younger who came to health facilities for post abortion care experienced complications.
~ Out of 100,000 women who seek unsafe abortion procedures, 266 of them die. However, these deaths are almost entirely preventable.
~ More than 70% of women seeking post abortion care were not using a method of contraception prior to becoming pregnant.
~ Post abortion care arising from unsafe abortion adds an extra strain to the limited resources in an already overstretched health care system.
The persistence of deaths resulting from unsafe abortion related causes continues to be a threat to the sexual and reproductive health and women rights enshrined in the constitution.
The above findings should encourage public dialogue and advocacy for safe abortion care/ services in the event of unwanted pregnancies.
Improved access to comprehensive abortion care, including counselling and effective contraceptives access and use will save many lives and also reduce the stress on the already over stretched health care systems in Kenya.
Courtesy of Ipas Kenya.