Kenya, Uganda Have Highest Number of Unsafe Abortions

October 16, 2013

Standard Digital News

August 21, 2013

Nairobi, Kenya: Kenya and Uganda have earned the dubious distinction of achieving the highest number of backstreet abortions in the world with almost half a million women, including ten-year-olds, exposed to the vice.

The two countries are however true to trends in East Africa with the region leading the rest of the world in the procurement of unsafe abortions, according to data covering the last decade as well as last year.

While the global and African averages show that out of 1,000 pregnant women 28 will go for a risky abortion, for East Africa this figure jumps to 39 and for Kenya it gallops to 48 only to be edged out by Uganda where the figure was 54 in 2003.

Gender inequality

The study released in Nairobi yesterday by Dr Francis Kimani, the Director of Medical Services, does not specifically explain these high rates of abortion in East Africa compared to the rest of the world but suggests a number of factors including gender inequality, stigma, culture and poverty.

Data presented in the report indicate the number of women seeking backstreet abortions in Kenya is more than twice the comparative figures in Rwanda, Ethiopia and Malawi.

“This report is a wake-up call on the reality of unsafe abortions in Kenya and the need to urgently find a lasting solution to this preventable cause of maternal morbidity and mortality,” said Dr Kimani.

But a look at who seeks post-abortion care in public and private hospitals, information used by researchers to capture the number of botched procedures, shows poverty as a major cause.

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