Nepal – Abortive measures

Despite the legal provisions, unsafe abortions continue to add to the maternal mortality rate.

August 15, 2023

Many Nepali women are in unsafe hands, as evidenced by the death of a 35-year-old woman while seeking an abortion at a local clinic in Dhangadi. No sooner had she died than people found out that the clinic was operating illegally. Every year, around 100,000 women have abortions in Nepal at legally-authorised clinics and health facilities; however, the actual number could be much higher, as many abortions are swept under the rug. Many illicit clinics could be running and taking women’s lives far from the government’s gaze.

The country legalised abortion in 2002, allowing women to terminate up to 12 weeks of pregnancy without any reason being sought, and up to 28 weeks in cases of rape, incest and health complications. Free first-trimester and second-trimester abortion practices were also initiated. The Health Ministry’s Safe Abortion Service Guideline doesn’t recognise private sector auxiliary nurse midwives as authorised persons to provide medical abortions as they are not trained as skilled birth attendants. Nepal allows trained auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) to provide medical abortion care up to 10 weeks gestation, even in rural health care centres. Staff nurses can do both manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and medical abortion up to 10 weeks gestation, while MBBS doctors can perform MVA up to 12 weeks. But only obstetrician-gynaecologists and general practitioners are permitted to do second-trimester abortions (13-28 weeks).


Unsafe Abortions Derail Malawi’s Progress on Maternal Health

With unsafe abortions contributing to 18% of maternal deaths, Malawi finds itself facing a dilemma in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of reducing maternal mortality to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.

Jun 23, 2023 
Brian Ligomeka 

Sitting on the veranda of her house in Bangwe Township, located in the southern Malawian city of Blantyre, 56-year-old Manesi Kamolo sheds tears as she recounts in an interview how her 17-year-old daughter died.

According to Kamolo, her daughter became pregnant after being raped while returning from school. “My daughter revealed to me that she was pregnant as a result of the rape,” she explains. “The discovery of the pregnancy haunted her. She told me she never wanted to keep the pregnancy as she wanted to continue with her education.”


Sweden invests $42 million to improve sexual and reproductive health in East and Southern Africa

Sources: Govt. Sweden, UNFPA, UNICEF
22 Jun 2023 

PRETORIA, South Africa -- Sweden today announced a further investment of $42 million for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), in an effort to transform the lives of millions of people in East and Southern Africa. The funding is being made available through Sweden's Strategy for SRHR in Africa 2022-2026.

The investment will bolster existing efforts by four United Nations agencies -- UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO -- to support countries and regional entities in East and Southern Africa to reduce maternal mortality including from unsafe abortion, HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unmet need for contraceptives, and gender-based violence (GBV). The investment brings to $99 million the total amount committed by Sweden since 2018.


WHO Director General Calls on Countries to Protect Women’s Right to Abortion

Megha Kaveri

Two weeks after a Texas judge stirred controversy by banning a popular US abortion pill, WHO’s Director General has explicitly re-affirmed the organization’s support for abortion rights, stating that “women should always have the right to choose when it comes to their bodies and their health”.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ comments came just a day before the US Supreme Court is set to decide whether to suspend the judge’s ruling and maintain full access to the abortion drug, mifepristone, while the case is appealed. The case will be the court’s most significant consideration of abortion rights since its landmark ruling last June overturning the 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade, guaranteeing abortion rights nationally.


A woman dies every two minutes due to pregnancy or childbirth: UN agencies

New data show major setbacks for maternal health in many parts of the world, highlighting stark disparities in healthcare access

23 February 2023
World Health Organization

Every two minutes, a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth, according to the latest estimates released in a report by United Nations agencies today. This report, Trends in maternal mortality, reveals alarming setbacks for women’s health over recent years, as maternal deaths either increased or stagnated in nearly all regions of the world.

“While pregnancy should be a time of immense hope and a positive experience for all women, it is tragically still a shockingly dangerous experience for millions around the world who lack access to high quality, respectful health care,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). “These new statistics reveal the urgent need to ensure every woman and girl has access to critical health services before, during and after childbirth, and that they can fully exercise their reproductive rights.”


Africa’s Progress Against Maternal and Infant Mortality Has ‘Flatlined’

Dec 1, 2022
Kerry Cullinan

In the past decade, Africa’s progress against maternal and infant mortality has flatlined, and it will need to reduce maternal deaths by a massive 86%, and more than halve the deaths of babies to reach global targets by 2030.

This is according to the Atlas of African Health Statistics 2022  released by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Africa region on Thursday.


Nigeria’s maternal death rate falls below SDG target’

26th November 2022
By Lara Adejoro

The Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria has lamented the high rate of maternal death in the country, saying Nigeria is nowhere near achieving the Sustainable Development Goal target of reducing the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.

The SOGON President, Dr Habi Sadauki, said this, on Saturday, in Abuja at a press conference supported by the Partnership for Advocacy in child and family health At Scale anchored by the Development Research and Projects Centre and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


Not enough: Editorial on India’s Maternal Mortality Rate

The findings published in PLOS Global Public Health journal suggest that about 70 per cent of the country’s districts had failed to meet the global target between 2017 and 2020

The Editorial Board  
Published 29.07.22

Over the past few years, India has been making efforts to improve maternal health. A decline in maternal mortality has also been documented. But is this decline uniform? A recent study by the International Institute for Population Sciences, which analysed maternal deaths at the district level, has found serious imbalances. Maternal Mortality Rate — deaths on account of childbirth per one lakh live births — is a measure of women’s reproductive health. Under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, all countries are expected to lower their MMR to below 70 by 2030. At present, India’s MMR is 103. Dishearteningly, this figure is not representative of ground realities.


Nigeria – Women Group Seeks Suspension on Safe Pregnancy Guidelines Lifted

July 23, 2022
By cloudnewsmag

The Women Rights and Civil Society Organisations have called on the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to immediately lift suspension on the guidelines on Safe Termination of Pregnancy for legal Indicators.

The Groups maintained that women have rights to their bodily integrity and to life, stressing that the ‘Safe Termination of Pregnancy for legal Indicators’ is meant to save women from preventable death.


Restrictive abortion laws put Nigerian women in danger

PTI | Benin

The word "abortion" is used to describe two types of pregnancies that end before 20 weeks, which is now regarded as the age of viability of a pregnancy.

Spontaneous abortion occurs without an intention by the woman to stop the pregnancy, it is pregnancy loss before 20 weeks of gestational age. Induced abortion is the deliberate termination of a pregnancy because it is unwanted.