Kenya: 13-year-old girl dies while performing an abortion in Mamboleo

by Okun Oliech

A 13-year-old girl died in Mamboleo in Kisumu County on Monday, after she performed unsafe abortion to herself. The girl used a cloth hanger while trying to abort her 4-weeks pregnancy, which led to the injury of her womb resulting to over bleeding. She lost her life while being rushed to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga teaching and referral hospital.

According to a doctor at the medical facility, the girl died because she had lost a lot of blood.  The doctor said that they were shocked because the girl had destroyed her womb completely with the hanger. There were big cuts inside her womb and despite her trying to abort the pregnancy, she wasn’t successful.

The girl was in class seven and came from a very strict and poor background. She was very scared of her parents because they had warned her earlier, that if she got pregnant it was better she terminated it before coming home,  if she dared came home pregnant, they would skin her alive. She got desperate and decided to terminate her pregnancy the crude way.

I believe that the girl would still be alive if she had access to safe abortion services. In Kisumu safe abortion services are very expensive and limited. The minimum one can pay for safe abortion services is 2,500 shillings. This has forced young girls and women to turn to quacks or midwives or other dangerous options. As a result, an estimated two-thirds of Kisumu’s abortions are unsafe.

Each year, 300,000 abortions are procured here in Kenya. Moreover 25,000 women go to government hospitals with complications due to unsafe abortion. It is estimated that more than 2,600 women die annually from unsafe abortion here in Kenya. Unsafe abortion is rampant in Kisumu county, Kisii county and Siaya County.

Unintended pregnancy is the leading cause of unsafe abortion in Kenya. It is estimated that adolescents and young people account for 70% of all pregnancies. Lack of access to quality information on contraceptive use and services has contributed to the increasing cases of unintended pregnancies. It is estimated that 44% of adolescents in Kenya have never heard of family planning or contraception methods.

If we are to win the battle against unsafe abortion and unwanted pregnancy, accurate and complete information about sex and provision of contraceptive methods are first-line defenses.

Access to safe abortion services is critical to prevent potentially fatal injury and infections from unsafe abortion. Where safe abortion is not available, post abortion care services are necessary to treat the complications that result from unsafe procedures, the most severe of which can result in infertility and death.

Moreover, the youth and teenagers should abstain from sex and reduce these cases of unwanted pregnancies and abortion. They should also remember that abortion is illegal; unless the fetus is a threat to the mother’s health.

Source: Standard Media, Kenya