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‘More Ugandan women aged 40 and above seek abortion services’

KAMPALA. Women above 40 years are increasingly accessing abortion services in the country, a senior gynaecologist attached to Mulago national referral hospital has revealed.

Dr Charles Kiggundu explained that this trend has taken the medical world by surprise since it’s usually abortions among teenagers that are common.

Abortion is the deliberate termination of the growing human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks.

“We are receiving women above the age of 40 seeking to procure abortion services. About four out of 10 women who come to Mulago to procure abortion are 40 and above.

The trend is increasing and as medics, we are wondering what could be the cause,” Dr Kiggundu said on Tuesday evening during the ongoing two-day dialogue on the role of religion and culture in promoting and regulating sexual reproductive health and rights.

When this reporter asked Dr Kiggundu what could be causes, he was of the view that some women think they have reached the menopause stage and when they engage in unprotected sex, they end up getting an unwanted pregnancy.

Menopause is a natural biological process that happens to every woman and is a time that marks the end of a woman’s monthly menstrual cycles.

This situation is diagnosed after a woman has spent at least a year without experiencing her monthly menstrual periods. Menopause usually occurs in women between their 40s and 50s.

Dr Kiggundu went on to suggest that some women could be widows and when they engage in sexual activities and end up getting pregnant, they fear their in-laws would rebuke and shun them.

The other reason the medic suggested was that some women could have stopped giving birth say 10 years back and in the process of having unprotected sex, end up pregnant and feel it’s not right to have another baby given the big age gap that will be there with the last born.

Dr Kiggundu also stated that some women may engage in extra marital affairs and may feel like not getting another child from a different clan, hence resorting to abortion.

He however said: “We are carrying out comprehensive research about this trend and we shall soon come out with a report detailing the real causes of this shift.”

The ongoing two-day workshop is being organised by a civil society organisation, Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD).

Unsafe abortion is among the leading causes of maternal mobility and mortality in Uganda, contributing to approximately 26 per cent of the estimated 6,000 maternal deaths every year and an estimate 40 per cent of admissions for emergency obstetric care.

The estimate rate of 54 per cent abortions per 1,000 women of reproduction age is far higher than the average of 39 per cent abortions per 1,000 women for East Africa.

Abortion in Uganda is illegal and is only permitted to save a life of a pregnant woman.

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