Self-induced medical abortions appear to be increasing in far-west region of Nepal

Despite having five of its districts on the list of the top ten districts in Nepal in terms of public health facilities, the far-west region still shows a very high number of illegal abortions, and the number appears to be on the rise in all districts of the region.Law and regulations in Nepal require abortions to be conducted from an authorised centre by authorised health workers up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. But according to one hospital doctor, these rules are neglected in both rural and urban areas, and there is a growing trend of inducing a miscarriage by taking pills, without required medical tests. “We see many cases of women inducing miscarriages through pills without consulting a doctor, which leads to several health problems ranging from abdominal cramps to profuse bleeding during miscarriage,” this doctor said.There are 36 health organisations licensed to carry out abortions in the far-west region. In 2014/15, the article reports, around 642 women came to hospitals after complications arising from an “illegally conducted abortion”.Although it is not allowed to sell or buy medical abortion pills without prescription, medical shops in rural areas sell them “to anyone who asks for it”, according to the Himalaya News Service. The pills are brought from India and cost between Rs 1,000 to 3,000 per tablet in local markets in the far-west region. The chief of the District Health Office, Bajura, conceded that illegal sale of the abortion drug takes place in the region. However, the Department of Drug Administration said they did not have inspectors to monitor and stop the sale of prescription drugs as there are 24 districts in the region but only three inspectors.SOURCE: Himalayan News Service, 17 May 2016