The rising number of unsafe abortions in Teso region is worrying medical workers at Soroti regional referral hospital. 165 women were admitted at the hospital between November last year and January this year after undergoing unsafe abortions. Information obtained by URN shows that the women are admitted with complications arising from unsafe abortion.
Dr. John Ekunait, the in charge of the maternity ward at Soroti Referral hospital says that the number of women admitted because of unsafe abortion has been increasing steadily from November 2012. He explains that in November 2012, 27 mothers were admitted at the hospital due to unsafe abortions, in December 66 and January 72.
Dr. Alfred Francis Ogwang, a gynecologist at the hospital told URN that the majority of abortions are conducted by untrained people. He says that the women are only rushed to hospital, once the situation gets out of hand. He says that the affected women include students, pupils and married women. Ogwang says that most of the victims of the unsafe abortions are accompanied to the hospital by fellow students, their mothers or relatives. Ogwang says that the cases are referred from as far as Serere, Kaberamaido, Katakwi, Amuria, Ngora and Kumi districts.
The medical workers blame the rise in unsafe abortions amongst students and pupils to the long holiday season. Anna Mary Nabwire, a Senior Health Worker at the maternity ward says the majority of the abortion victims are not married. She explains that the latest victim of abortion was a 16-year-old primary pupil.
A recent report by the Guttmacher institute found that there are nearly 700,000 unplanned births in Uganda each year and extremely high levels of unsafe abortions, maternal death and related illnesses. The same report shows that Uganda spends 37.8 billion shillings annually (about $ 130 million) in Post Abortion Care (PAC). The money is spent on medical care, equipment, labor as well as dealing with related complications and psycho social needs