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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid