1st March, 2012
A Chief Consultant Gynaecologist, Dr. Francis Alu, says abortion contributes to almost half of maternal mortality in Nigeria.
Alu, who works with the Maitama District Hospital, Abuja, stated this in Abuja at a training workshop on Women’s Sexual Reproductive Needs, organised for journalists by an international NGO on reproductive health.
He said abortion occurred mostly in young people between the ages of 15 and 25, the largest age bracket in the country.
He noted that “the commonest indication for abortion was unwanted or unintended pregnancy,” adding that “abortion is, therefore, a public health problem.”
According to him, abortion is the termination of an already implanted embryo within the womb of humans which is 20 weeks or less.
He said abortion could occur spontaneously as a miscarriage or wilfully induced, noting that unsafe abortion could be associated with complications mostly induced and facilitated by the use of sharp instruments, physical trauma and herbs, among others.
Alu explained that unsafe abortion could also be performed by an unskilled person in unhygienic environment, while modern medicine applies medical and surgical means.
The gynaecologist stated that unsafe abortion resulted in about 70,000 maternal deaths, five million disabilities and an estimated 42 million abortions performed globally.
He added that 87 percent of induced abortions in Nigeria were performed in private health facilities and 13 percent in public health facilities.
Alu said abortion could be procured to save the life of pregnant women, preserve their physical and mental health, remove severe foetal abnormality and also for other medical reasons.
He noted, however, that complications could include incomplete abortion, genital infection, infertility and maternal mortality, among others.
Alu added that promotion of contraceptives, sex education, and improving moral standards were aimed at reducing the incidence of abortion.