Search for ways to curb im­pact of un­safe abor­tions

Cape Times - - WORLD NEWS -

THE Africa Re­gional Con­fer­ence on “Abor­tion: From Re­search to Pol­icy”, kicked off in Ad­dis Ababa, Ethiopia, yes­ter­day with the aim of build­ing on a decade of work link­ing re­search to ac­tion to re­duce un­safe abor­tions in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa.

The three-day con­fer­ence, which was or­gan­ised by the Guttmacher In­sti­tute, and Ipas, a global non­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion that works to in­crease women’s abil­ity to ex­er­cise their sex­ual and re­pro­duc­tive rights, and to re­duce ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity rates, ends on Fri­day.

The con­fer­ence has brought to­gether 250 re­searchers, pol­i­cy­mak­ers, ad­vo­cates, health care providers, youth, jour­nal­ists and donors who will fo­cus on re­duc­ing the detri­men­tal im­pact of un­safe abor­tion on Africans, es­pe­cially young women and ado­les­cents, as well as on their fam­i­lies and so­ci­ety as a whole.

“An es­ti­mated 56 mil­lion abor­tions oc­cur each year world­wide,” said the Guttmacher In­sti­tute.

“The pro­por­tion of abor­tions that are per­formed un­der un­safe con­di­tions is not known. How­ever, com­pli­ca­tions from un­safe abor­tions are com­mon in de­vel­op­ing re­gions, where the pro­ce­dure is of­ten highly re­stricted,” said the or­gan­is­ers.

In Africa, women have more than 8mil­lion abor­tions each year, many of them deemed to be un­safe.

About 1.6mil­lion women in the re­gion are treated an­nu­ally for com­pli­ca­tions from un­safe abor­tion, while many ex­pe­ri­ence com­pli­ca­tions and do not re­ceive the treat­ment they need.

Ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent es­ti­mates, at least 9per­cent of ma­ter­nal deaths in Africa an­nu­ally are due to un­safe abor­tion.

It is es­ti­mated that 90per­cent of African women of child­bear­ing age live in coun­tries with re­stric­tive abor­tion laws, and even where the law al­lows abor­tion un­der cer­tain cir­cum­stances, few women are able to nav­i­gate the pro­cesses re­quired to ob­tain a safe and le­gal pro­ce­dure. Un­safe abor­tion is a ma­jor pub­lic health prob­lem, not only in coun­tries where ac­cess to safe abor­tion is highly re­stricted, but also where it is legally al­lowed.

The Africa Re­gional Con­fer­ence on Abor­tion will high­light find­ings from re­search and how they have contributed to changes in pol­icy and prac­tice, as well as im­prove­ments in abor­tion pol­icy and pro­grammes, dur­ing the past decade.

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