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Abortion complications on the rise

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd November 2011 03:11 PM

In a given year, Uganda’s hospitals, health centres and private practitioners treat approximately 85,000 women for abortion-related complications. This translates into 15 per 1,000 women each year.

Abortion complications on the rise

In a given year, Uganda’s hospitals, health centres and private practitioners treat approximately 85,000 women for abortion-related complications. This translates into 15 per 1,000 women each year.

By Doreen Murungi
 
In a given year, Uganda’s hospitals, health centres and private practitioners treat approximately 85,000 women for abortion-related complications. This translates into 15 per 1,000 women each year.
 
According to The State of Uganda’s Population Report, about 755,000 women get unintended pregnancies each year and many end up having unsafe abortions.
In the Ugandan law, abortion is illegal. Any person who, with intent, procures an abortion is subjected to imprisonment for 14 years. 
 
The law, however, provides for exceptions for this violation in situations when a pregnancy endangers the life of the mother and in some cases where rape has been proved. 
 
Most women choosing abortion are doing so because of unplanned pregnancies, rape, incest and poor marital relationships. 
 
 Dr. Ellis Mutabazi's say
According to Dr. Ellis Mutabazi of Alive Medical Services, since women are independent, more self-sustaining and can afford an abortion, they are prompted to go for it when they feel they need to. He adds that the lack of reproductive health education also contributes to the rise in abortions.
 
Abortion is common among girls in their late teens and those in early 20s. “They are usually not ready to take responsibility, hence opt for abortion. Abortion is considered a selfish act in Uganda,” Mutabazi says.
 
Induced abortions 
The projected number of induced abortions in Africa has increased since 1995, according to Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit organisation advancing sexual and reproductive health worldwide. Experts attribute this rise to unintended pregnancies, which is also the primary reason that women worldwide opt for abortions. 
 
A national study conducted between 1992 and 1994, 63% of women and men surveyed said they knew someone who had had an abortion.
 
Guttmacher Institute shows that every year about 297,000 women have abortions and nearly 85,000 suffer complications. According to the institute, 48% of all induced abortions are unsafe worldwide. In developing countries,  55% of abortions are unsafe. 
 
Experts say
Experts say that more than half of all abortions are believed to be carried out by individuals equipped with the knowledge and tact. These include doctors, nurses and midwives.“The remaining procedures are performed by non-professionals, including pharmacists, traditional providers and women,” the institute points out.
 
The World Health Organisation places the number of women who die from complications resulting from abortions performed by unskilled practitioners every year at 67,000.
 
According to World Health Organisation, unsafe abortions are characterised by the provider’s inadequate skills; unsanitary facilities and use of hazardous techniques. 
 
Health risks at the time of an unsafe abortion include infection, haemorrhage, septic shock and abdominal injury. In the long run, chronic problems such as pelvic infection, ectopic pregnancy and infertility can occur.
 
‘I was forced to abort’
Kansiime, a 14-year-old girl, was recently admitted to Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital in critical condition after carrying out an abortion.  
 
The P.6 pupil of Kinyabuhara Primary School in Kyakagusa, Bwanika Parish in Kabarole district was allegedly impregnated by a man only identified as Adolf, 20, who is currently on the run. 
 
Kansiime said Adolf forced her to get rid of the pregnancy fearing that her parents would report him to the Police.
“I got pregnant in June, and when I found out in July and told Adolf about it, he said I must abort because the Police would arrest him for defilement,” Kansiime said.
 
When the New Vision visited Kansiime last Saturday, she was very weak, pale and worn-out. She could hardly narrate her ordeal. 
 
“Although I was not ready for pregnancy, I never wanted to abort. I wanted to have my baby but Adolf took me into a clinic. The “doctor” told me to lie on a bed and said he was going to terminate the pregnancy,” she said.
 
Kansiime says after the abortion, the doctor instructed her to leave and did not give her any medication, despite the tremendous pain and over-bleeding. “I was told to come back the next day to remove the cotton wool that he had inserted in my private parts. By the time I came out, Adolf was nowhere to be seen. I had to walk 1km back home. My condition worsened at night,”Kansiime narrates.
 
Kansiime was forced to narrate her ordeal to her grandfather, Francis Tinkasiimire, when her condition deteriorated the following day.
“She was unconscious by the time we brought her to this hospital. She was bleeding profusely,” Jane Kakazi, the victim’s aunt, said.
 
The Police have arrested Julius Kyaligonza, a nurse suspected to have carried out the abortion and is are still hunting for Adolf. 
 
“I hope to resume school after recovery and pursue a nursing career,” Kansiime says. 
By Hope Mafaranga, Emmanuel Abaasa and Rogers Sunday 
 

‘I was forced to abort’

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