Public health experts have attributed the growing number of maternal mortality due to unsafe abortions to a poor health system.
The startling fact was revealed during the presentation of a national research report on Induced Abortion and Post Abortion Care Among Adolescents in Uganda by Dr. Justine Bukenya, a lecturer at the Makerere University school of public health.
In the presentation that took place at Hotel Africana on Wednesday, September 12, 2018, Dr. Bukenya noted that many mothers die from complications arising from unsafe abortions after failing to get access to post abortion care facilities in many government hospitals.
“Women in rural areas go to hospitals but unfortunately there are no facilities for safe abortion leaving them with no option but to use rudimentary methods,” Dr. Bukenya explained.
According to a research by U.S based Guttmacher Institute and Makerere University, at least 57,000 abortions took place among Ugandan adolescents in 2013.
The researchers also found that adolescents seeking post abortion care for complications resulting from an unsafe abortion or miscarriage did not face greater disadvantages in their abortion care experiences, compared with women older than 20.
However, among those seeking post abortion care, unmarried women, including unmarried adolescents, were more likely than married women to experience severe complications./> Although Ugandan law allows abortion to save a woman’s life and national guidelines permit abortion under additional circumstances—including in cases of fetal anomaly, rape and incest, and if the woman is HIV-positive, safe and legal abortion is difficult to obtain. No Banner to display
As a result, many women resort to unsafe abortion, which accounts for more than 10% of all maternal deaths in Uganda.
An estimated 314,300 abortions occurred in Uganda in 2013 among all age-groups, and more than 93,000 women were hospitalized for complications from unsafe abortion.
“These findings challenge the perception that adolescents as a group fare worse than older populations when it comes to abortion-related care,” says Elizabeth Sully, senior research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute and the study’s lead author. “Still, sexual and reproductive health services tailored to adolescents’ unique needs remain vital.”
As of 2013, the adolescent abortion rate was lower than that among all women of reproductive age (28 per 1,000 women aged 15–19 vs. 39 per 1,000 women aged 15–49).
Among women who were recently sexually active, however, adolescents had the highest abortion rate (76 vs. 56, respectively). Adolescents are less likely to be sexually active than older women, but they often face more barriers to obtaining high-quality contraceptive services.
“We need to better understand how marital status and other social factors influence adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health experiences,” says Lynn Atuyambe, a researcher at Makerere University and one of the study’s authors.