Charles Kiggundu a consultant gynaecologist at Kawempe National Referral hospital says that unlike before where women would use herbal concoctions and devices such as wires and sticks, to procure abortions, a number of women now report inserting drugs they got over the counter, often used in high doses.
Women are increasingly using medical drugs to procure
abortions. But even then, a sizeable number is using the medication inaccurately,
Medical doctors have said.
Charles Kiggundu a consultant gynaecologist at Kawempe National Referral hospital says that unlike before
where women would use herbal concoctions and devices such as wires and sticks, to
procure abortions, a number of women now report inserting drugs they got over
the counter, often used in high doses.
As a result, he says, instead of having to deal with uterus
repairs or removal, they are dealing a lot with over bleeding when providing post-abortion care.
//Cue in; “Twongedde okulaba abakyala...
Cue out…. Kuzaala baana bangi”. //
Speaking to journalists this
afternoon, Dr Kiggundu said proper statistics on how many abortions could be
happening annually remain scanty due to the fact it remains largely illegal,
yet the legal aspects of it are not well understood. This, he says, is the reason some doctors choose not to document when they give post-abortion care.
He says what is documented for
Kawempe alone shows that more than 800 women seek post-abortion services from
the hospital when the situation is already out of hand and many of them show
with advanced complications and can’t be saved.
//Cue in; “Science
Cue out…. To a baby.”//
He notes that many lives are lost when doctors are still
weighing between helping victims because of the likely repercussions to them.
But commenting about this Dorothy
Amuron, a lawyer and human rights activist working with the Center for Health,
Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) says they recently came up with a
programme that helps doctors that are trapped in procuring abortion charges to access
justice by providing them with legal aid.
Apart from that, medical workers are also trained and
empowered on where they stop in offering this care.
She said 30 doctors have already
been helped using this programme but notes that most of the challenges with
giving post-abortion care arise because many don’t know when they commit an offence or whether what they are doing is legal abortion because the law is not
clear on what they can do or not do since the penal code still equates
termination of pregnancy to murder.
She said activists had thought clear lines on abortion would
be drawn when a bill on termination of pregnancy was brought before parliament
in 2015 but then it wasn’t discussed further and continues to gather dust.
Kiggundu says this law needs to
be passed fast to save those that need abortion care and protect doctors as
they do their work.