KENYA – How unsafe abortion is draining public health money

According to report recently released in Kenya, entitled The Costs of Treating Unsafe Abortion Complications in Public Health Facilities in Kenya, there were 464,690 abortions in the country in 2012, most of which were unsafe. Of the total, 119,912 – more than one in four – sought treatment for complications, of whom 75,581 were treated in public health facilities. The report was researched and published by the African Population and Health Research Center in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Ipas.

The report says Kenya spent Sh533 million in 2016 to treat complications of unsafe abortions in public health facilities, which involved treating severe bleeding, organ failure, genital trauma and life-threatening sepsis. That amount was an increase of Sh100 million compared to 2012, when the amount was Sh432.7 million (US$ 5.1 million).

The report shows the staggeringly high costs of managing complications of unsafe abortion in public health facilities in Kenya. Many complications from unsafe abortion were categorized as emergencies and required extended hospital stays, intensive care, and attendance by highly skilled health providers.

As high as 77% of the complications treated were moderate to severe. Severe complications were responsible for 35% of the annual caseload in public health facilities but accounted for 54% of total costs. The average treatment time for complications from an unsafe abortion was 7.4 hours of personnel time, ranging from 5.5 hours for mild complications to 6.7 hours for moderate complications, and up to 12.4 hours for severe complications involving procedures such as pelvis abscess drainage or cervical/vaginal tear repair.

SOURCE: Nairobi News, by Angela Oketch, 1 March 2018 ; African Population and Health Research Center, 28 February 2018 ; INFOGRAPHIC in: Briefing Paper, Ministry of Health/APHRC, February 2018