NEPAL – Bajura, a remote district in the far western hills of Nepal, has fared well in terms of safe abortion

According to local government records, as many as 875 women receivedsafe abortion services through government-run health centres in the Bajura districtin the past 18 months. Of the total 28 local health centres in the district, 15have been providing abortion service to women. Only complicated cases are sentto the district hospital. The Bajura District Hospital Chief, Dr RupchandraBishwokarma, found these data encouraging. In the past, women would commonlyuse unsafe ways to end unwanted pregnancy, but as the safer facilities havebeen made accessible, they have started seeking medical help for abortion.“This is a testimony to an increase in women’s accessibility to health centresand their growing level of awareness.” He also said that the district hospitalhas ensured that safe motherhood and abortion services are provided at thegrassroots levels. For that, local units have been alerted and local healthcentres mobilized. Women and girls who used to go to private clinics forabortion have also been found to have opted for government health centres. “Thisis happening because abortion service is cheap as well as safe in health centresoperated by the government,” he claimed. And traditional unsafe methods aredisappearing.

Earlier, only clinical abortion services were available for women. Thesedays, abortion pills re available, even in rural areas, including Bajura.

One woman from the Triveni Municipality expressed happiness over “unexpectedlylow expenses” for her abortion. “Earlier, I had to spend a lot of time andmoney. Even my health deteriorated due to excess bleeding,” she said. She hadgone to Martadi town the last time to seek abortion. Even after spending a heftyamount, she was not satisfied with the service provided by the private clinic.Recently, her abortion was handled by a skilled doctor at Kailashmandu HealthPost and the service was free.

Another woman from the same municipality had a similar experience. “Abortionservice at local health post is a boon for women,” she said. “Even after havingrequired number of children women still get pregnant as family planning is notso common. Then they seek abortion service. But when such services are noteasily available, women feel tortured.”

SOURCE: My Republica, by Krishna Oli, 17 November 2019 ; PHOTO: by Prakash Singh/THT