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Women Lives Matter

By Okun Oliech | February 6th 2017
The burden and consequences of unsafe abortions are usually borne by women who are most vulnerable and are least able to access safe abortion services.Most of the vulnerable women are usually poor and reside in rural areas and slums.

In Kenya safe abortion services is only for the rich who can afford to pay for these services. Safe abortion services are only offered in few private hospitals and it comes with a huge cost.

The minimum amount one can pay to procure safe abortion services here in Kenya is Ksh 4000. This has resulted to poor women seeking services from quacks who charge as less as 500 shilling for abortion services.

Others have opted to perform abortion by themselves using dangerous concoctions and dangerous objects such as cloth hanger and sticks putting their lives in danger.

The root cause of women seeking an abortion is the persistence of unintended pregnancies, which in turn reflects the failure of family planning programmes to meet the contraceptive needs of all women at risk of an unintended pregnancy.

In Kenya more than 40% of the pregnancies are unintended. Young people between the ages of 15- 24 years account for 70% of all the pregnancies in Kenya.

Adolescents facing an unintended pregnancy before finishing school or finding a stable partner are most likely to seek an end to the pregnancy.

Due to fewer financial resources available to her and, she is most likely to seek abortion services from a quack or have a self-induced abortion hence the risk and complication she could face are great.

According to the ministry of health about more than 310,000 abortions are procured every year in Kenya. 21,000 women are admitted each year due to abortion related complications from having unsafe abortions and 2,600 of these eventually die making unsafe abortion the leading cause of death and injury to women.

Of the women admitted, roughly 12% are usually older than 34 years, 40% are between 25 - 34 years while 16% are teenagers.

The persistence of unsafe abortion is a serious threat to the sexual and reproductive health and rights guaranteed to Kenyan women and men under article 43 of the Kenyan constitution enacted in 2010.

Improved access to comprehensive abortion care, post abortion care including counseling and effective contraceptive access and use, will both save women’s lives and reduce costs to Kenya’s overburdened healthcare system.
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