GOVERNMENT is conducting a survey on abortion trends and maternal deaths arising from the practice countrywide with the aim of reducing the mortality rates.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The survey is being done by the Health and Child Care ministry with support from the University of Zimbabwe-University of California San Francisco Collaborative Research Programme (UZ-UCSF).
The survey is being implemented in all the provinces at institutions offering post-abortal care services, latest Bulawayo City Council (BCC) minutes reveal.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care, with support from the UZ-UCSF and GUTTMACHER, is implementing a survey in all the provinces in Zimbabwe at institutions which offer post-abortal care (PAC) service,” a letter from the Health ministry to BCC requesting authority to visit council health institutions to conduct the survey read in part.
“This is a national initiative which will contribute to the improvement in the reduction of the high rate of maternal mortality.
“The main focus is to estimate the current national incidence of abortion, to estimate the number and rate of women who were treated in facilities and the annual number and rate of pregnancies and unintended pregnancies occurring in Zimbabwe.”
Estimate statistics show that at least 20 000 women are dying every year from complications associated with abortion, while more than 80 000 terminate their pregnancies illegally.
Abortion is illegal, except under Section 4 of the Termination of Pregnancy Act.
The Act states that abortion is legal only when the life of the mother and her physical health is endangered, where there is rape or incest, and where there is a serious risk that the child to be born will suffer from physical or mental defects of such a nature that it will be permanently or seriously handicapped.