• Governments have not invested in systematic reviews of the main contributors that make young women procure unsafe abortion.
• Unsafe abortion not only results in pregnancy and health complications but also in deaths that can be prevented
Several factors are responsible for the rising cases of unsafe abortion in sub-Saharan Africa.
First and foremost is that governments have not invested in systematic reviews of the main contributors that make young women procure unsafe abortion. In addition, peer pressure, abandonment by a spouse, limited knowledge on the situations abortion is permitted, inaccessibility to family planning methods and unintended pregnancy contribute to rising cases of unsafe abortion.
It is no doubt that sexual activity comes at an early age. At the age of nine, boys and girls are already engaging in sex. At this age, boys and girls can access the internet through mobile phones and thus, most information on sex is within their reach.
As a result of peer pressure and inappropriate information from the internet, unintended pregnancies may easily result in procuring unsafe abortion. Parents get to know the procured abortion at the start of health complications, which include hemorrhage, and when adolescents decide to stay away from home.
In other situations, pregnancy may be unexpected or the parties involved are not ready to take responsibility. This scenario leads to abandonment or separation. Coupled with the financial difficulties, women who are victims of family separation and unintended pregnancy resort to procuring an abortion in an unsafe environment.
A notable factor is that unsafe abortion not only results in pregnancy and health complications but also in deaths that can be prevented. We must invest more in educating communities on the risk involved with unsafe abortion.
The Constitution of Kenya is already clear on the situations abortion is permitted. We must also ensure uninterrupted access to safe planning methods by women of reproductive age. provision of appropriate information on sexuality will also reduce the prevalence of unsafe abortion. Let us engage the media in offering education related to prevention of unintended pregnancy while implementing comprehensive sexuality education in schools. Finally, as trends on abortion emerge, there is need for more research on the main contributors of unsafe abortion
Network for Adolescents and youth of Africa, Nairobi