The National Health Department is concerned about the rising number of illegal abortions in the country. This is despite the existence of 346 public health facilities authorised to perform legal and safe abortions.
These facilities conducted 11 621 abortions on adolescents during the 2021/22 financial year. They also terminated another 73 426 pregnancies on young women, from 20 years and above. The National Health Department says many women, who opt for illegal abortions claim that the reception at public health facilities is unwelcoming.
Deputy Health Minister Sibongiseni Dlomo says there is still a lot of stigmatisation around abortion, and a lot still needs to be done.
“We need to check ourselves as healthcare workers at facilities whether there are certain things we can do, to create demand for these types of services so that people don’t find it convenient and despite all the other challenges that come with it, expose themselves to death with so much they pay for this.”
Meanwhile, obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr. Salome Komane says illegal abortions have dire consequences and may lead to fatalities.
“They come with respiratory distress. Some of them end up having a total abdominal hysterectomy, which is taking out the uterus because it’s a source of sepsis. If we leave it there, they were going to have a systemic infection where they are going to die. So it can lead to death basically. That is what most of the women die from and it’s a major complication. The long-term impact of skeptic miscarriage, they end up losing their fertility. They end up dying.
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