BOTSWANA – Assessment of unintended pregnancies, contraception, and abortion in Botswana

by Tshepo Mokganedi Rakereng, Kesaobaka Sheila Dikgole, Lucy Sejo Maribe, Anna Maria Speciale, Antonella Lavelanet

International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics 15 February 2024


Botswana has a policy of contraception for all that is delivered through a rights-based family planning program. The program combines a “rights-based family planning approach” with “supportive policies for contraception”, and “a commitment to promote equitable access to modern contraception, and expand availability, method mix and uptake of modern contraceptive methods for all women and girls”. However, abortion is legally permitted up to 16 weeks of pregnancy provided that provisions of Section 160–162 of the Botswana Penal Code Amendment Act 1991 are met, and that the termination of pregnancy is carried out by a registered medical practitioner in a health facility approved for the purpose. In 2020, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Botswana, in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund and World Health Organization, conducted a strategic assessment of unintended pregnancies, contraception, unsafe abortion, and abortion services in Botswana. A consensus operational plan to address these issues was developed during a national stakeholder meeting in Gaborone, Botswana. The consensus reached was to avert unintended pregnancies, improve access to modern contraception, and open nationwide discussions around abortion in the community to enable positive change and decrease maternal morbidity and mortality from unsafe abortion. This article describes the findings of the assessment and outlines the foundation for new or modified services or practices to be developed and pilot tested.

Abstract in French ; Abstract in Spanish