At least 4036 cases of abortions have been recorded in the different health facilities Gulu District over the past 15 months. Gulu Regional Referral Hospital alone received 1317 cases in need of post-abortion care and registered 7 deaths.
District Health Department is battling the rise in abortions. A high number of
women are turning up at health facilities in the district for post-abortion
care. At least
4036 cases of abortions have been recorded in the different health facilities
Gulu District over the past 15 months. Gulu Regional Referral Hospital alone received
1317 cases in need of post-abortion care and registered 7 deaths.
the District Health department show that 298 women aborted due to domestic
violence and the men declining to take responsibility for their pregnancies.
While statistics on the other causes of abortion remain scanty, 1, 020
women admitted for post-abortion care at the different health facilities were
predominantly aged between 15 and 35. The data was generated from
the 60 different health facilities in the District from January 2020 to the
Second week of May 2021, which excludes statistics from private clinics.
Dr. Christine Susan Akili, the Senior Nursing Officer in the Gynecology Ward at
Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, says that most of the women rush to the
hospital in critical condition. “Some come with dead fetuses but nobody
will admit to having aborted. All they say is that it has occurred by itself and
we can’t probe further other than saving the mother,” Akili explained.
Akili says that although some of the cases were due to malaria and other health
conditions, there is a need for women in the District to embrace family
planning to avoid unplanned pregnancies.
//Cue in…” so when you …
Cue out…”like life
Dr. Filder Anicia, the in-charge of Reproductive Health Uganda Gulu Branch, says
access to reproductive health services in the region is still low. The Uganda
demographic survey 2016 shows that between 16 and 18 maternal deaths occur
daily in Uganda while abortions contribute to 26% of the maternal deaths in
the Country. However, the fact that abortions largely remain
illegal with the legal aspects not fully understood, many health practitioners
fear to disclose to the public on the post-abortion services they provide.
An official from Gulu District Health Department, who spoke to Uganda Radio
Network on condition of anonymity, says that the practice is not only illegal
but is widely condemned in the Bible. “It’s not only it's ambiguous legal
understanding but I am a Catholic and our doctrine is clear that abortion is
a sin of murder, we don’t need the Constitution to stop that, the Bible is clear”
The Penal Code Act penalizes abortion. However, section 22
(2) of the Constitution provides for the termination of the unborn through
performance of the surgical procedures to save the mother. While the data
on abortions in the country remains scanty, at least 800 women sought for the post
abortion care at Kawempe Hospital alone in 2020, according to the report from
In his argument, the Makerere University Law School Lecturer Prof. Ben
Twinomugish says that abortion is justifiable in pregnancies that arise from
incest, rape and extramarital affairs. Whereas the World Health Organization describes abortion as the termination of pregnancy before it got
viable at 28 weeks, Twinomugishargues that health is complete
physical and mental health.
“Imagine a scenario where a young girl of P.5 is defiled by a teacher gets
pregnant, how would you handle this? Put yourself in the minds of a person
with an unplanned pregnancy,” Twinomugish said. The Retired Bishop of Northern Uganda, Nelson Onono Onweng who doubles as the
Chairman Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative says the rate of abortion in
Gulu is alarming. Onono revealed that a regional meeting for the Church leaders
will be held within two months to discuss the vice.
“We don’t need our daughters to get impregnated but the responsibility to stop
this largely remains with our children who need to live a responsible life,”
Bishop Onono. However, Phiona Akello-a 22-year-old mother with 5-month-old
pregnancy told Uganda Radio Network on Monday in an interview that many of the
women are battling with single motherhood. “The responsibility on us
women is high and I know of 10 of my colleagues who aborted but that don’t
justify abortion,” Akello explained.