By Sola Ogundipe
Marie Stopes International Organisation Nigeria, MSION has called for better access to modern contraceptives by Nigerian women as a way of checkmating the maternal mortality and morbidity brought on by unsafe abortion practices.
The Director, Programme Operation, MSION, Dr. Emmanuel Ajah, affirmed that access to safe abortion and post-abortion care are central pillars necessary to drive maternal mortality reduction in Nigeria.
Ajah who spoke in Ibadan, Oyo State during a media workshop put together by MSION in collaboration with the Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria, NRHJN, said abortion is restricted in Nigeria but is allowed only to save a woman if her life is endangered by the pregnancy.
“Improving access to reliable modern contraceptives is a reliable means to reduce the incidence of unplanned pregnancies and abortions.
“There is evidence that expanding and relaxing current national abortion legislations will reduce the reliance on unsafe points for abortions.”
In his argument, Ajah said health workers need to be made aware of the permissible legal reasons for safe abortion within the background of restrictive legislation, even as he called for the repositioning of the health system with the capacity to identify, manage and/or refer post-abortion complications before they become mortalities. In a related development, Worldometers, the global tracking service reported that more than 42 million abortions took place globally in 2019.
The data on abortions displayed on the Worldometers’ counter is based on the latest statistics on worldwide abortions published by the World Health Organisation, WHO.
According to the WHO, every year in the world there are an estimated 40-50 million abortions corresponding to approximately 125,000 abortions per day.
The WHO defines unsafe abortion as a procedure for terminating an unwanted pregnancy either by a person lacking the necessary skills or in an environment lacking minimal medical standards or both.