THERE is a glaring shortage of post-abortion pills across Zimbabwe.
Abortion is illegal in the country except in circumstances where the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life, where there is serious risk the child to be born will suffer from a physical or mental defect or when the pregnancy is a result of rape.
More and more women are dying each year from untreated or inadequately treated abortion-related complications.
In some cases women are forced to seek the services of informal and unsafe providers, risking their lives and health when a medical abortion is generally a safe procedure with a few risks.
Post-abortion care, a term commonly used by the international reproductive health community, refers to a specific set of services for women experiencing problems from all types of spontaneous or induced abortion.
A report by Rights Here Right Now (RHRN) has shown that the country’s health facilities are under-resourced.
Women who have access to post-abortion care reportedly have moderate complications.
Women and girls with abortion complications need post-abortion care, a service that is supported by the Health and Child Care ministry.
Over 55 percent of health facilities in Zimbabwe reported stock-outs of misprostol, an essential post-abortion care medicine, in the past three months.
The shortage of misprostol, which is a safe, effective, and acceptable method to achieve uterine evacuation for women needing post-abortion care, speaks to a disaster in the health care sector.
This will obviously lead to an increase in maternal mortality. Government must move with speed to avail post-abortion care.
Access to safe abortion services prevents complications from unsafe abortion and decreases the need for post-abortion care.
It is much less expensive and far better for women’s health to prevent the problem of unsafe abortion rather than to treat resulting complications.
It’s encouraging that family health director in the Health ministry Bernard Madzima has said the ministry is working towards ensuring women authorised to abort have access to the adequate medical attention.
According to a Guttmacher 2016 study, 67 000 unsafe abortions take place in the country every year, with some women suffering complications.