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nairaland.net • View topic - 4.2 million unwanted pregnancies in Nigeria yearly
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4.2 million unwanted pregnancies in Nigeria yearly

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 6:04 am
by Richard Akindele

An estimated 4.2 million of the 6.8 million women who get pregnant annually in Nigeria do so without desiring it, and many of them decide to terminate their pregnancies through abortion.
A non-governmental organisation, Campaign Against Unwanted Pregnancies (CAUP), which reeled out the figure added that the figure of unwanted pregnancies represented 63 per cent of the total pregnancies that occur each year in the country.

According to the group, because abortion is legal only when it is to save a woman’s life, most procedures adopted by those women who found themselves having unwanted pregnancies are clandestine, and many are carried out in unsafe circumstances.

The picture emerged from a new research by CAUP, shedding light on the causes, level and consequences of abortion in Nigeria.
Dr Boniface Oye-Adeniran, joint-co-ordinator, CAUP, at a press briefing on Sunday disclosed that an estimated one in five pregnancies in Nigeria were unplanned. Nearly one-third (28 per cent) of women of reproductive age have had an unwanted pregnancy at some point in their lives, he added.

Many factors were fingered as contributing to unwanted pregnancy. In addition to low levels of contraceptive use, the desire for smaller families is fundamental. Growing urbanisation, the increasing participation of women in the paid labour force and the diminishing ability of families to support many children (partly because of costs of educating them) all contribute to the desire to limit family size.
To have only the number of children she wants, the typical Nigerian woman must spend 10 years between the ages of 20 and 45 using effective contraceptive methods.

However, more than one quarter (27 per cent) of all Nigerian women aged 15-49 need effective contraception – that is, they are able to become pregnant, are sexually active, do not want a child soon or ever, but are not using any method of contraception. Twenty two per cent are using traditional methods.
The statistics show further that six in 10 women (61 per cent) who have ended an unwanted pregnancy by abortion were not using any method of family planning when they conceived; 33 per cent were using a modern method and 6 per cent, a traditional one. Among the women, 38 per cent did not know about family planning, 10 per cent believed that they would not get pregnant, 17 per cent feared the side effects of contraceptives and six per cent lacked access to family planning and had partners or other family members who objected to contraceptive use.

Overall, 25 per cent of women obtaining abortions experience serious complications. The level is above average among women using a traditional healer or a friend or terminating the pregnancy on their own (36 per cent), and below average among those taking tablets (19 per cent) or obtaining an injection (10 per cent). The most common complications reported by hospitalised women themselves are excessive pain (68 per cent), bleeding (62 per cent) and fever (21 per cent).

Physicians report that women were treated for retained products of conception, hemorrhage, fever, sepsis and instrumental injury, among other complications.
Slightly more than three in four patients with complications require emergency evacuation of the uterus. In addition, about one in 10 require abdominal surgery.

Oye-Adeniran disclosed that the cost to patients for care in hospitals related to complications from an induced abortion is about US $91 (or N10,933 ), on average – a substantial expense in a country where the per capita growth national income (purchasing power parity) is roughly $930.
He reveals that in terms of abortion care, Nigeria’s health care system seems to be almost evenly split into two provider systems. In one system, better-off women can typically obtain relatively safe abortions, while in the other, poor women largely resort to unwanted abortions.

He therefore advises that improving knowledge about access to and use of effective contraceptives would lower levels of unwanted pregnancy and induced abortion. Information and services are especially needed among women who have no schooling, who are older and who live in the North.

Daily Sun