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Times of Zambia/allAfrica.com Examines Maternal Mortality, Abortion

The Times of Zambia/allAfrica.com examines abortion in Zambia and efforts to reduce maternal mortality. “Unsafe abortions are one of the top five causes of maternal mortality in Zambia,” writes the newspaper, which adds they are one factor keeping the country from meeting the U.N. Millennium Development Goal target of reducing maternal mortality.

“At the moment, Zambia’s maternal mortality rate stands at 591 for every 100, 000 live births and it is estimated that up to 30 percent of these result from unsafe abortion,” according to Times of Zambia/allAfrica.com. In 1998, the health ministry introduced post-abortion care services. In collaboration with IPAS Africa Alliance, the government is now planning to introduce and expand services, which will also include the Government Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC) program.

The Times of Zambia/allAfrica.com reports, “In this endeavour, the Government is encouraging integrated packages including CAC, which is an integration that seems to have scored some gains, especially as the country has managed to reduce maternal mortality so far.”

Next month, the government is expected to issue “standards and guidelines” to ensure that “women prevent unwanted pregnancies and those with unwanted, unintended, or risky pregnancies get appropriate services to prevent the occurrence of unsafe abortion and associated morbidity and mortality,” according to the newspaper (Zulu, Times of Zambia, 6/8).

Survey Examines Abortion In Kenya

In Kenya, three out of 10 pregnancy-related deaths are the result of “botched abortions,” according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation and the NGO Ipas, the Standard reports. Public hospitals spend more than 18 million shillings – or about $231,000 – to treat abortion-related complications, according to survey results.

However, the numbers “could be much higher” and the financial cost could be “much bigger” because the survey only includes cases that were reported from public health facilities, B Kigen, the health ministry’s deputy head of the Division of Reproductive Health, said. According to Kigen, 1 percent of women who are treated for abortion complications in public hospitals die.

Kigen said the government has launched a health worker training program on “proper abortion care.” The WHO, UNPF, USAID and others are supporting “the programme [that] aims to address among other things post abortion care, strengthen family planning programmes especially targeting adolescent people in the reproductive age,” he said (Okoth, Standard, 6/4).