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Why unsafe abortion is a public health challenge in Kenya

Njeri L Ndunyu, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Scientific evidence from hospital-based studies show that unsafe abortion is a public health challenge in Kenya sustaining the high rates of maternal morbidity and mortality but the actual magnitude is unknown. Between April-July 2005 in-depth discussions were held with 49 women purposively selected in urban and rural households who had at least one personal experience with abortion. Twenty-eight women reported 31 terminations by unsafe means. Unsafe abortions were easier to access than safe abortion services. Many unsafe abortions were ‘successful’ so never reached a health facility. Those that reached delayed in seeking services. There was preference for private than public health facilities. This study found that all urban women who had experienced unsafe abortion did not receive family planning counselling and methods useful for informed decision making. Strengthening of the comprehensive management of the post-abortion care model is crucial to the reduction of repeat unwanted pregnancies and consequent abortions.

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Presented in Session 46: Reproductive health rights and choices