COVID-19 CHALLENGES

Safe abortion should be among essential health services

Limited access to contraceptives and movement restrictions have made it hard to procure it safely

In Summary

• The emergence of Covid-19 has further worsened the sexual and reproductive health of women who may be in danger of pregnancy complications. 

• There is also limited knowledge and awareness among health workers, women rights holders, lawyers, social workers and community leaders and women themselves. 

The post-abortion care pocket guide approved by the Ministry of Health.
RISING MORTALITY RATES: The post-abortion care pocket guide approved by the Ministry of Health.
Image: COURTESY

According to the World Health Organization, lack of access to safe abortion results in 45 per cent of all abortions globally and 13 per cent of maternal mortality worldwide. 

In addition, the WHO has listed reproductive health services including care during pregnancy and childbirth, as essential services. However, the challenge lies in ensuring safe abortion care as a component of reproductive health service.

The emergence of Covid-19 has further worsened the sexual and reproductive health of women who may be in danger of pregnancy complications and are, therefore, at risk of unsafe abortion.

This is due to limited access to safe abortion services, limited access to contraceptives and movement restrictions due to curfew.

There is also limited knowledge and awareness among health workers, women rights holders, lawyers, social workers and community leaders and women themselves.

Recognising access to safe abortion as essential health services among the services classified by WHO will reduce abortion-related mortality and morbidity.

However, this should go beyond listing to implementation. Women are dying, thousands of others are suffering from complications of unsafe abortion.

In order to accelerate advocacy efforts towards safe abortion care and to reduce mortality and morbidity related to unsafe abortion, there is need for countries to work together and in turn protect the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls who may be at risk of unsafe abortion.

 

Naya Kenya, Nairobi