Boosting women's access to reproductive healthcare could significantly reduce both the number of unsafe abortions and the high cost of post-abortion medical care in Uganda, experts say.
Although there are few studies on the subject, experts estimate that some 297,000 abortions are performed annually, with 85,000 women treated for complications.
“Post-abortion care is estimated to cost nearly $14 million annually in Uganda... The epidemic of unsafe abortion takes a tragic toll on women and their families. It poses a significant, avoidable economic burden on Uganda’s already underfinanced health system,” said Moses Mulumba, director of the Kampala-based Centre for Human Rights and Development (Cehurd).
A recent brief by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health think tank, and the centre estimates that post-abortion care costs nearly $130 per patient.
“Most of the costs of post-abortion care arise from treating incomplete abortion; however, a significant proportion can be attributed to more serious complications, such as sepsis, shock, lacerations and perforations,” said the authors.
“One easy step that Uganda should take to reduce death and disability from unsafe abortion is disseminating information about the existing law and implementing existing guidelines... [This] urgently needed step would dramatically improve the health and save the lives of Ugandan women,” said Annociata Kampire, director of the Alliance for Integrated Development and Empowerment.