DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO – Decisive steps toward comprehensive abortion care

With the support of Ipas, the Coalition of Partners for Reproductive Health (Coalition des partenaires pour la santé de la reproduction) opened a training of trainers workshop in comprehensive abortion care for women on 20 February 2019 in Kinshasa. They say it is time to implement the Maputo Protocol, including the section on abortion, to reduce the high number of clandestine abortions, which are causing cases of death and complications in woman in the DRC. … Continued

ABORTION PROVIDERS APPRECIATION DAY: SOUTH AFRICA

Sexual & Reproductive Justice Coalition, South Africa, will host an event with abortion providers Today, 12 March 2019, the SRJC hosted an event in Lentegeur Hospital in partnership with the Western Cape Department of Health, to celebrate abortion providers, along with Triangle Projects, Mothers4Future, medical students and abortion providers from the Western Cape. Some 70 providers, mostly nurses, attended. Provincial Minister of Health, Nomafrench Mbombo, spoke and said abortion should be accessible to anyone who chooses to … Continued

KENYA – Vigil commemorating the life of Caroline Mwatha and the lives of women and girls lost due to unsafe abortion and those living with abortion-related disabilities, 21 February 2019

We are calling upon Kenyans of goodwill to join us in commemorating the life of Caroline Mwatha, who until her untimely demise was a wife, a mother and a celebrated human rights defender in her community. Unsafe abortions are one of the main causes of maternal deaths in Kenya. As at 2014, unsafe abortions accounted for 35 percent of the maternal deaths in Kenya, far beyond the global average of 13 percent. It has been … Continued

MALAWI – Abortion law reform bill in Malawi supported by religious leaders – again

In January 2016, the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights called for national laws on abortion to comply with its regional treaty agreements under the Maputo Protocol. In July 2016, the then new Association of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians of Malawi backed abortion law reform. and a report said that politicians, academics and civil society organisations were calling for speedy abortion law reform in the country because of the high rates of mortality and morbidity from … Continued

CAMEROON – Abortions from rape on the rise in Cameroon’s conflict zone

A new study confirms rape has become a weapon of war in Cameroon’s separatist conflict, and many victims are terminating pregnancies with crude, unsafe abortion techniques. The study was carried out by the Rural Women’s Center for Education and Development, who are keeping track of at least 300 school-age girls from the Northwest region who became pregnant as a result of rape, either from suspected separatist fighters or government soldiers. One of them, a 16-year-old, … Continued

KENYA SOLIDARITY MESSAGES – Caroline Mwatha

Thank you for your message of solidarity with the Kenya activists and Caroline’s family. It has now been confirmed that she died of excessive bleeding from a botched abortion. A lot is still not clear and the police are said to be continuing with investigations. Please see below for more of the statements of solidarity that have been received so far.   SENT BY: Center for Reproductive Rights, Nairobi, 15 February 2019

NAMIBIA/SOUTH AFRICA – Namibia to decriminalise abandonment of babies, but not South Africa

The government of Namibia has decriminalised the act of abandoning a newborn baby, which gender activists say is usually the result of difficulties in obtaining an abortion. Elsarien Katiti, media officer of Sister Namibia, an organisation that campaigns for women’s rights, discusses this in this BBC audio report.  Statistics from the Namibian police show that in 2017/18, only 25 cases of abandonment of babies were reported, but about 7,300 cases of abortion were recorded. This … Continued

KENYA – Caroline Mwatha, human rights defender, found dead: family challenges claim of dangerous abortion as the cause

Caroline Mwatha, a Kenyan activist whose work involved lobbying against extra judicial killings by police, had been missing for a week before a mortuary came forward to say they had her body. Amnesty International had raised the alarm over her disappearance. A police source said that she had died at a clinic where she had gone for an abortion. The owner of the clinic and a doctor came forward and admitted that “they took the … Continued

GABON – Transient reduction in abortion-related deaths after interventions to reduce delays in provision of care at Centre Hospitalier de Libreville, Gabon

In this article, we describe the results of changes in abortion-related fatalities in CHL over four consecutive 3-year periods: 2005-07, 2008-10, 2011-13, and 2014-16. The outcome evaluated was the number of abortion-related deaths per 1000 women and the proportion of all maternal deaths caused by abortion. Analysis was based on retrospective evaluation of clinical records without identification of patients; thus, informed consent was not requested. This study was approved by the administration of CHL acting as the ethical review committee. No statistical analysis was done. The abortion-related fatality rate fell from 12.3 per 1000 abortions between 2005 and 2007, to 2.9 per 1000 in 2008–10, and 0.7 per 1000 in 2011–13 (Table 1). Abortion-related maternal deaths accounted for 25% of all maternal deaths in the first period, with this percentage decreasing to 10% in the second period and to 2% in the third period. After the changes in hospital administration, the abortion-related fatality rate increased to 10 per 1000 abortions and to 14% of all maternal deaths between 2014 and 2016. Our findings suggest that abortion-related mortality can be substantially reduced by interventions within the hospital aimed at improving the care of women with abortion-related complications, particularly by reducing delays in the provision of effective care. These findings also highlight the importance of constantly motivating hospital staff to ensure that this beneficial effect remains.

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