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J Public Health Med. 1996 Jun;18(2):232-3.

Abortion as a public health problem in Zambia.

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1
C/o Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London.

Abstract

PIP:

Contraception is not widely accepted in Zambia. Many unwanted pregnancies therefore result. Abortion law in Zambia allows a woman to seek the termination of pregnancy when her own life and health, or the health of other members of her family, may be put at risk by the pregnancy, or when the fetus may be expected to be damaged or diseased. Even so, many illegal abortions are performed each year in Zambia. The majority of women seeking to terminate an unwanted pregnancy seek help from friends, go to traditional healers or "wise women", or find and take the abortifacients of folklore or muti. This approach may either succeed or result in major complications, including death. Induced abortion is, however, provided at the main teaching hospital in Lusaka without anesthesia, on a day care basis with neither pain relief, sedation, nor follow-up. Unsafe abortion is a major cause of maternal mortality in Zambia, with maternal mortality estimated to be approximately 500 per 100,000 live births; abortion accounts for approximately 30% of such mortality. If available figures reasonably reflect the true situation, then approximately 2300 women die in childbirth or of factors related to pregnancy every year, and 700-1000 deaths are directly attributable to abortion. There is a need to improve the practice of family planning and the provision of sex education in the country.

PMID:
8816322
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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