COMPLICATIONS

Laws allow abortion in some cases but are women aware?

Women seek back-alley abortion services because they may not know better ways

In Summary

• Many women and young girls procure an abortion without considering the consequences. 

• Family planning education and a continuous supply of contraceptives will guard against unintended pregnancy. 

The post abortion care pocket guide approved by the Ministry of Health.
EDUCATE SOCIETY: The post abortion care pocket guide approved by the Ministry of Health.
Image: COURTESY

Women who have procured unsafe abortion may not be aware of the health complications they may be facing.

Several factors are responsible for negative health-seeking behaviours among women seeking abortion-related care. First is the limited knowledge about complications related to unsafe abortion. As the goal is to do away with an unintended pregnancy, many women and young girls procure an abortion without considering what the consequences may be. 

In addition, in some cases, women in need of post-abortion-related care may not visit the hospital hence the increase in deaths related to unsafe abortion. There is also low perceived seriousness for complications. Civil society organisations alongside the Ministry of Health must provide health education not only to women who have procured an abortion but to the entire community.

This education will serve a double purpose; first to prevent new cases of unsafe abortion and to reduce complications related to unsafe abortion. We must also ensure adequate staffing, continuous supply of drugs and improved attitude of health workers.

This will reduce long queues witnessed when women with mild complications visit health facilities. Budgetary allocations should ensure emergency transportation and training of service providers in post-abortion care.

Finally, family planning education and a continuous supply of contraceptives will guard against unintended pregnancy hence reducing mortality rates related to back-alley abortion services.  

 

Naya Kenya, Nairobi