News / Africa

Unsafe Abortions Continue in Kenya Despite Reforms

Dr. Aron Sikuku, right, explains family planning options to Beatrice Ravonga in Nairobi, Kenya. (Jan. 29, 2009 file)
Dr. Aron Sikuku, right, explains family planning options to Beatrice Ravonga in Nairobi, Kenya. (Jan. 29, 2009 file)
Gabe Joselow
— A new report from Kenya’s ministry of health reveals 465,000 women had abortions last year, the vast majority in unsafe conditions -- despite more liberal abortion laws. 

According to this week's report, Kenya’s national abortion rate, at 48 abortions for every 1,000 women, is higher than almost every other country in Africa.
Most of the procedures have taken place in unsafe conditions, either outside of medical facilities or without the assistance of trained professionals.

As a result, some 120,000 women sought medical treatment for complications from abortions.

Dr. Elizabeth Kimani, with the African Population and Health Research Center, says despite the safety concerns, there is a resistance in Kenya to addressing the problem.

“I think there’s still a lot of stigma about reproductive health and about abortion."

Kenya relaxed its abortion laws in the 2010 constitution by giving health professionals more leeway to determine when abortion is permitted. Before then, three doctors had to sign off on the procedure when it was necessary to save the life of the mother.

Because of continued resistance to abortion, the country has not brought health care facilities up to speed, said Kimani.

“Since it was quite restricted before 2010, there are no good structures which have yet been established even after the promulgation, in terms of training health care professionals, in terms of safe abortion care," she said.

A report released last year by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights found unsafe abortions caused up to 50 percent of maternal deaths in Kenya. It said some of the unsafe methods women were using to terminate pregnancies included taking traditional herbs or high doses of anti-malarial medication.

Others inserted objects, like knitting needles, into their bodies. To get to the root of the problem, Kenya should devote more resources into family planning, Kimani said.

“Because people have unintended pregnancies first, and then they seek abortions. So we actually have to deal with this issue first.”

Dr. Kimani says the research found that 43 percent of pregnancies in Kenya are unintended. The report concludes that increasing access to contraceptives and other reproductive health services is key to preventing unsafe abortions.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid