UGANDA: Access to safe abortion in Uganda: leveraging opportunities through the harm reduction model


by Moses Mulumba, Charles Kiggundu, Jacqueline Nassimbwa, Noor Musisi Nakibuuka

International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 16 May 2017    Full text available



Access to safe and legal abortion services is a far reach for women and girls in Uganda. Although unsafe abortion rates have fallen from 54 to 39 per 1,000 women aged 15–45 years over a decade, absolute figures show a rise from 294,000 in 2003 to 314,000 women having unsafe abortions in 2013. Unfortunately, only 50% of the women who develop abortion complications are able to reach facilities for post-abortion care. Despite the clinical evidence and the stories from undocumented cases, debate on access to safer and legal abortion is constricted, moralized, and stigmatized. The harm reduction model has shown evidence of benefit in reducing maternal mortality and morbidity due to unsafe abortion while addressing related stigma and discrimination and advancing women’s reproductive health rights. This article presents a case for promoting the model in Uganda.