Illegal abortions choke Tšepong

Illegal abortions choke Tšepong

MASERU – THE ministry of Health is alarmed at the number of women being admitted at Tšepong due to complications during illegal abortions.
Health Ministry’s Director General Dr ’Nyane Letsie told a press conference last Saturday that the hospital admits a maximum of 15 young women and teenagers who have illegal abortion complications daily.

Health Minister Nkaku Kabi, who was out on official business for the better part of last week, had to urgently fly back home after he was told that Tšepong was overcrowded.
He said illegal abortions were one of the reasons why Tšepong’s maternity ward is overcrowded.
“You can count for yourself how many women who had illegal pregnancy terminations are admitted at Tšepong every week, if in a day they range between five and 15,” Kabi said.
“The situation is alarming and needs urgent attention,” he said.

He said doctors at the hospital told him that there is evidence that “the abortions are deliberate because they find pregnancy terminating pills in the women’s bodies”.
He said it is high time that they engage the police so that whenever they suspect or have evidence of deliberate pregnancy termination a woman is arrested immediately after receiving medical attention.

Kabi also called on the churches to allow all women to use contraceptives and their health centres should help in distributing them.
“I understand that some churches may oppose the idea of their clinics and hospitals offering contraceptives but the problem is that many young women will continue aborting because they had unplanned pregnancies,” Kabi said.

The most vocal church that opposes the use of contraceptives is the Roman Catholic Church.
All churches in Lesotho do not condone abortion.
Also in Lesotho abortion is illegal and attracts prison sentence, if not sanctioned by a qualified medical doctor with the sole intention of saving the mother’s life.
“The rising level of illegal abortions indicates that you and I have failed to teach our daughters good behaviour. Both the church and the state have failed and we have to come up with a working solution,” he said.

Kabi said the number of deliberate abortions surpasses that of genuine miscarriages.
Many of the women are referred to the hospital by the local clinics because of lack of equipment for services such as the one used for cleaning the womb, which in most cases is found only in hospitals in Lesotho.

Dr Letsie said starting from this week women who would have miscarried will no longer go to Queen ’Mamohato.
She said Queen Elizabeth II Hospital will now operate around the clock.
Others will be taken to Berea Hospital.

“There is adequate equipment and staff in those hospitals,” Dr Letsie said.
“Only high risk pregnancies will be allowed at Tšepong,” she said.
After the miscarriages or abortions, women spend not less than three days at the hospital because some experience severe abdominal and back pains that prohibit them from standing up.
Some experience infection or sepsis, damage to the cervix, scarring of the uterine lining, perforation of the uterus and damage to other organs.

Staff Reporter

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