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Women abandon crude methods for drugs to procure unsafe abortion

Laws about abortion are unclear according to health experts in Uganda.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Women are increasingly using medical drugs to procure abortions. But even then a sizeable number is using the medication inaccurately. Medical doctors have said.

Charles Kiggundu a consultant gynecologist at Kawempe National Referral hospital says that unlike before where women would use herbal concoctions and devices such as wires and sticks, to procure abortions, a number of women now report inserting drugs they got over the counter often used in high doses.

As a result, he says instead of having to deal with uterus repairs or removal they are dealing a lot with over bleeding when providing post-abortion care.

Speaking to journalists yesterday afternoon, Dr Kiggundu said proper statistics on how many abortions could be happening annually remain scanty due to the fact it remains largely illegal yet the legal aspects of it are not well understood. This he says is the reason some doctors choose not to document when they give post-abortion care.

He says what is documented for Kawempe alone shows that more than 800 women seek post-abortion services from the hospital when the situation is already out of hand and many of them show with advanced complications and can’t be saved.

He notes that many lives are lost when doctors are still weighing between helping victims because of the likely repercussions to them.

But commenting about this, Dorothy Amuron a lawyer and human rights activist working with the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) says they recently came up with a programme that helps doctors that are trapped in procuring abortion charges to access justice by providing them with legal aid.

Apart from that, medical workers are also trained and empowered on where they stop in offering this care.

She said 30 doctors have already been helped using this programme but notes that most of the challenges with giving post-abortion care arise because many don’t know when they commit an offence or whether what they are doing is legal abortion because the law is not clear on what they can do or not do since the penal code still equates termination of pregnancy to murder.

She said activists had thought clear lines on abortion would be drawn when a bill on termination of pregnancy was brought before parliament in 2015 but then it wasn’t discussed further and continues to gather dust.

Kiggundu says this law needs to be passed fast to save those that need abortion care and protect doctors as they do their work.



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