Health Relationship

What makes unsafe abortion common in Nigeria –Gynaecologist

What makes unsafe abortion common in Nigeria –Gynaecologist

What makes unsafe abortion common in Nigeria. It has been reported that an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Dr. James Odofin says unsafe abortion is common in Nigeria because some women have wrongly been using abortion as their contraceptive.

Unsafe abortion, Odofin stated, is one of the major causes of maternal mortality in Nigeria and other developing countries.

According to the World Health Organisation, “between 2015 and 2019, on average, 73.3 million induced (safe and unsafe) abortions occurred worldwide each year.”

The global health body says abortion is unsafe when it is carried out by a person lacking the necessary skills or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards or both.

While noting that three out of every four abortions that occurred in Africa and Latin America were unsafe, the global health body stated that the risk of dying from unsafe abortion was highest in Africa.

Speaking with PUNCH Healthwise in an interview, Odofin, who is a senior obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Federal Medical Centre, Ebute-Metta said some women depend on abortion instead of using contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancy, noting that they now see the medical procedure as their contraceptive.

Read Also: What Women Can Do That Men Can’t Do – Science Reveals.

While stressing that this wrong habit is one of the major reasons for the high incidence of unsafe abortion in the country, Odofin said women should be using contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

What makes unsafe abortion common in Nigeria –Gynaecologist

What makes unsafe abortion

“Some women have been using abortion as their own contraceptive. This is wrong.

“Primary prevention of pregnancy which is the use of contraceptives is better and should be encouraged.

“If contraceptive is used, cases of unwanted pregnancy will be largely reduced except in rare cases when the contraceptive fails,” he said.

According to the gynaecologist, unsafe abortion remains one of the major causes of maternal mortality in Nigeria and some other developing countries.

“This is because, in Nigeria in particular, we still don’t have a law that makes it easy for women to procure abortion from competent professionals in standard health facilities.

“What the law allows is therapeutic abortion (a procedure usually done before the foetus can survive on its own) and even that one requires a number of consultants to sign and approve it before it can be done.

“We still depend on the old penal code and the law states that any person that requests, facilitates, and carried out abortion is liable and could be jailed for between seven to fourteen years.

“That is why those who want an abortion will rather patronise quacks and when they have complications will also not come forward because of the secrecy in the arrangement,” he said.

Odofin said bleeding is the most common complication of unsafe abortion.

Unsafe abortion, he said, is also responsible for many health problems, stressing that it is one of the major causes of maternal mortality in Nigeria.

“Bleeding is the most common complication of unsafe abortion, but it also usually causes injury to reproductive organs.

“Some women end up with perforated uterus. It can also cause visceral injury as well as injury to the bladder.

“There are also long-term complications. It can lead to serious infections and even infertility.

“The woman may have pelvic inflammatory disease, pelvic collection, acute kidney failure, anaemic heart failure, chronic pelvic pain, uterine synechiae, and other issues,” he said.

The gynaecologist, however, stated that proper intervention can help reduce the long-term effect of complications from unsafe abortion, especially when presented early.

What makes unsafe abortion common in Nigeria –Gynaecologist

What makes unsafe abortion

What makes unsafe abortion common in Nigeria –Gynaecologist
What makes unsafe abortion common in Nigeria –Gynaecologist

“There is something we call emergency obstetric care that is divided into basic and comprehensive which should be available at any health centre.

“It is to promptly help women with pregnancy-related complications. The patient, however, has to present early for this care.

“The problem is that not all those who have issues present early because of the secrecy involved. Sometimes, the uterus would have become gangrenous before they present.

In some cases, the patient ends up needing complex surgeries because of the complications,” he said.

On what the nation should be doing to reduce the incidence of unsafe abortion, Odofin said the law on abortion should be reviewed.

“This is to ensure that women who want the procedure can access it from competent professionals in standard health facilities.

“It is, however, not just about the law, we also need to educate the populace and even some professionals who are against the procedure because of religious or moral reasons,” he said.

What makes unsafe abortion common in Nigeria, the abortion law needs review. What do you think?

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