Doctors say risks among female youths in Kenya are serious
SEE ALSO :Shield women from avoidable deaths“Many people come to the hospital for post-abortion care after unsafe abortion. The effects are sometimes so severe and therefore expensive to treat, especially when the victims delay to seek help,” he said. According to Kissinger, the most common effects of unsafe abortion include over-bleeding, damaged uterus and a ruptured uterus, which results in sepsis, shock, or organ failure. “When a patient waits too long to seek help, the situation gets worse. In case of a ruptured uterus, there is likelihood of an infection or pus leaking into the stomach. This requires surgery to remove the pus and repair the tear,” he says, adding: “Financial constraints are a major reason why some women opt for unsafe abortion. The surgery is quite costly and most might not afford it.” Kissinger says delay in seeking treatment can lead to death. According to a survey conducted by African Reproductive and Health Research Centre (APHRC) in September this year, young women and girls in Kenya face challenges in accessing abortion care services. The survey says while there was recognition that all women of reproductive age are potentially at risk of induced abortion, providers frequently considered unmarried young girls and women to be at elevated risk. The report says victims of unsafe abortion were majorly unmarried women below 24 years, with some as young as 13 years. Among young women and girls, shame was also a common explanation for delays in seeking post-abortion care. Respondents said that when young girls try to hide their immorality and the resultant abortion, they delay care-seeking, ultimately increasing their risks for severe morbidity and death. “Medical care providers said they were frequently approached by unmarried women and girls seeking pregnancy termination services. Individuals looking for pregnancy termination services for their wives, friends, daughters, sisters, and relatives also contacted providers,” said Dr Chimaraoke Izugbara, head of the Population Dynamics, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights research unit at APHRC. The report says most providers said they did not offer pregnancy termination services because they considered abortion illegal, belonged to religious faiths that forbid abortion, lacked basic equipment for safe abortion in their health facility, feared that colleagues and supervisors would not approve of it, dreaded reprisals from the community, and lacked training in safe pregnancy termination. HERBAL CONCOCTIONS “The experts also reported having treated patients who had abortions performed by chemist shop operators, itinerant medicine vendors, traditional healers, teachers, boyfriends, and relatives. Many had also treated patients who terminated their pregnancies by pumping cold air through the cervix, inserting sharp objects through the vagina, drinking potash and herbal concoctions, and having someone step repeatedly on their abdomen,” says the report. The report also indicated some of the practices reported by medics were local abortion folklore and practices, including that abortions could be induced by performing extreme physical activities; inserting herbs and sharp objects, overdosing on certain anti-malarial medicines, emergency contraceptives, analgesics, anti-bacterial drugs and drinking concentrated tea leaves.
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