Severity and cost of unsafe abortion complications treated in Nigerian hospitals.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Abortion (Complications and side effects)
Labor, Complicated (Care and treatment)
Mothers (Patient outcomes)
Mothers (Statistics)
Mothers (Causes of)
Pub Date: 11/01/2009
Publication: Name: Reproductive Health Matters Publisher: Reproductive Health Matters Audience: General Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Family and marriage; Health; Women's issues/gender studies Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 Reproductive Health Matters ISSN: 0968-8080
Issue: Date: Nov, 2009 Source Volume: 17 Source Issue: 34
Topic: Event Code: 680 Labor Distribution by Employer Canadian Subject Form: Labour complications
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Nigeria Geographic Code: 6NIGR Nigeria
Accession Number: 225074445
Full Text: Abortion in Nigeria is permitted only to save the life of the woman, and illegal and unsafe abortion rates are high. In a 2002-2003 survey of women and their providers in 33 public and private hospitals in eight states across Nigeria, 2,093 patients were identified as being treated for abortion-related complications or miscarriage. Among those admitted for abortion-related reasons, 36% had attempted to end the pregnancy before coming to hospital (including 24% with and 12% without serious complications), 33% obtained an induced abortion at the facility without having made a prior abortion attempt, and 32% were treated for complications of miscarriage. Of women with serious complications, 24% had sepsis, 21% pelvic infection and 11% instrumental injury. 22% required blood transfusion and 10% needed abdominal surgery. More than 2% died. This mortality rate and findings from another study indicate that a minimum of 3,000 (and probably many more). Nigerian women die annually from unsafe abortion. The financial cost to women of treatment for complications of unsafe abortion was four times the cost of a safe abortion in hospital. The women with serious complications from unsafe abortions were poorer and later in gestation than the others. They paid more for treatment (about 13,900 naira) than those who went directly to a hospital for abortion (3,800 naira). Many said they had first attended a doctor for abortion, indicating that doctors are not well-trained in abortion services. Law reform, improved access to contraceptive services, better training in safe abortion and post-abortion care are needed to reduce abortion-related morbidity and mortality. (1)

(1.) Henshaw SK, Adewole I, Singh S, et al. Severity and cost of unsafe abortion complications treated in Nigerian hospitals. International Family Planning Perspectives 2008;34(1):40-50.
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