Dr. Godwin Akaba, a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, has said that more than 456,000 unsafe abortions are done yearly in Nigeria.
This was disclosed at a three-day media training workshop on “Women’s Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights” organised by the international reproductive rights group, Ipas, in Abuja.
Dr. Akaba averred that unsafe abortions contribute 13 percent to maternal deaths, while also identifying lack of family planning tools as one of the causes of maternal mortality in the country.
According to him, lack of family planning leads to unintended pregnancy, which could lead to unsafe abortion.
In a related development, the Acting Country Director of Ipas, Ms. Hauwa Shekarau identified abortion as one of the leading causes of maternal mortality and morbidity in Nigeria, while attributing the increasing number of maternal deaths that occur yearly around the world to Nigerian archaic laws on abortion.
Stating that every woman had a right to safe reproductive health choices, Shekarau said: “The abortion law in Nigeria is restrictive and it is only permitted to save the life of the woman if she is in a danger.
“But those that do not fall under this legal restriction are left to their own devices. Also the cost of carrying out this procedure is high, and those who are not economically empowered resort to quacks, making unsafe abortion the most silent and persistent cause of maternal mortality in Nigeria.”
Ms. Shekarau noted that the training is aimed at getting the citizens better informed on issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights of women.