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‘Nigeria still records huge losses from unsafe abortions’

Hundreds of Nigerian women die every day of complications arising from unsafe abortions, an international NGO, Ipas has said. Country Director of Ipas (Nigeria), Mr…

Hundreds of Nigerian women die every day of complications arising from unsafe abortions, an international NGO, Ipas has said.

Country Director of Ipas (Nigeria), Mr Lucky Palmer, said this on Sunday at a three-day “Media Training for Journalists on Women’s Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights/Global Gag Rule’’, in Keffi, Nasarawa State.

Palmer also disclosed that every eight minutes, a woman in a developing country died from such complications, adding that the figures were drawn from only those who visited hospitals for medical attention.

According to the Ipas representative in Nigeria, of the 85 million women who get pregnant annually, 40 million of them usually end up having abortions, with developing countries accounting for 98 per cent of the unsafe abortions.

He also said Africa and Latin America accounted for the highest number of unsafe abortions globally.

Palmer expressed sadness that Nigeria was yet to reform restrictive domestic laws and policies that placed women and girls’ health and lives at risk; as well as preventing them from exercising rights that the government had committed to under the international law.

The IPAs country representative added that in 2012 alone, 1.25 million Nigerian women had an abortion, doubling the number estimated in 1996.

He emphasised that unless urgent steps were taken, the number would keep increasing because only 16 per cent of all women of reproductive age were using any contraceptives, and just 11 per cent using modern methods.

“That results in almost 10 million unintended pregnancies, of which more than half end in an induced abortion,’’ he said.

The country director attributed this worrying global health challenge to the Global Gag Rule, noting that the training of journalists to help with awareness and advocacy, was one of the ways the organisation was exploring to tackle the issue.

He said a big burden was on the media to work closely with relevant organisations in curbing the menace.

Palmer urged the media to liaise with relevant agencies in advocating for the enforcement of laws and domestication of Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, to promote women’s sexual rights and health, create awareness, as well as educate the public on consequences of unsafe abortions. (NAN)

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