Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Unwanted Pregnancy And Abortion In Burkino Faso

One-third of all pregnancies in Burkina Faso are unintended and a third of them end in abortion, according to a study published this month by the University of Ouagadougou and the reproductive health think tank Guttmacher Institute, which also found that more than 100,000 abortions were carried out in the country in 2012, most of them performed in unsafe conditions or by untrained health workers.

Abortion is illegal in most circumstances, but the practice continues in secrecy. In 2008, 25 out of 1,000 women between 15 and 49 years old terminated a pregnancy, the study says. The rate of abortion in rural Burkina Faso is 22 per 1,000 women, and 28 for 1,000 in urban areas. The rate in the capital, Ouagadougou, is 42 out of 1,000.

Almost four in 10 of women who have an unsafe abortion suffer complications and do not receive proper health care.

“It’s alarming, and these are situations that could have been avoided by adopting preventive measures,” said Angele Sourabie, programme director at Burkina Faso Association for Family Welfare (ABBEF).

“In the field we conduct sensitization campaigns for 18-to-24 year olds. Since we cannot prevent them from having sex, we make sure they have safer sex by using contraceptive methods to avoid pregnancies,” Sourabie added.

The study, Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion in Burkina Faso, recommends the expansion of family planning programmes throughout the country’s primary health services and the provision of family planning counselling and methods, which should be made a routine part of post abortion care.

Georges Guiella, a researcher in demographics and health at the University of Ouagadougou, said that teenagers are the most affected by clandestine abortions because of their low access to family planning methods.

“It is very important to rethink the services of family planning so as to improve the access to contraceptives by this category of teenagers, who are the most vulnerable,” Guiella explained.

 Even though the report calls for easing the legal restrictions on abortion, the health ministry says no amendments are being considered at the moment. Under the law, abortion in permitted only when the woman’s life is in danger, in cases of incest, rape and foetal impairment.

Many women’s organizations and NGOs point out that requirements, such as certification by two doctors to prove a pregnancy resulted from incest or rape, are an obstacle. “Most of the time, the victims will hide and try to clean themselves up because of stigma behind rape or incest,” said Sourabie.

 Full article here

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