WPD: We are committed to safety of our women, girls – Fabanwo
… Urges other states to emulate Lagos
As the World Population Day, WPD, is marked all over the world every 11th of July, women have been advised to avail themselves of the safe abortion services opportunities provided by the Lagos State government. The WPD seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues as established by the then-Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989.
The Chief Medical Director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo who spoke at the Population Reference Bureau, PRB and SAFE ENGAGE’s training programme done in collaboration with the Network of Reproductive Health Journalists, NRHJN, in Lagos, stated that the Lagos State government is committed to ensuring that women have access to safe abortion when there is need for such.
According to him, saving women’s lives from unsafe abortion in Lagos State is a project they are committed to because unsafe abortion kills millions annually and costs more.
“We need to improve access to safe abortion within the full extent of the law because available statistics has shown that 19million women die annually worldwide due to unsafe abortion.”
“Restrictive abortion laws, prohibitive costs, poor access to safe health services, and intense social stigma are barriers that prevent women from accessing safe and legal abortion. Estimates show that unsafe abortions account for roughly 5,000 maternal deaths every year in Nigeria, or on average, 14 maternal deaths each day. Unsafe abortions are also costly to women and the health care system.”
It should be noted that the Lagos Ministry of Health has now put in place efforts to effect the 2011 Criminal Code—which allows for legal abortion to protect the physical health and life of a woman—and required that safe abortion services be provided within the full extent of the law. “50% of deaths due to unsafe abortion are adolescents while 60% of abortions are done by quacks.”
Prof. Fabamwo advocated for safe abortion done by qualified personnel while the drugs should be strictly prescription drugs in order to avoid abuse. He also called on other states of the federation to emulate Lagos State.
“Opportunities also exist to adopt the nationally approved clinical guidelines on safe abortion for legal indications and the 2015 Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act. The VAPP Act protects girls, women, and marginalized communities from abuse, and ensures comprehensive medical services for victims of rape and incest.”
Also, Dr. Funmi OlaOlorun, Co-Principal Investigator, PMA2020, presented the most recent family planning data for Lagos and Nigeria.
Research has shown abortion occurs among women of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, married or unmarried.
All key stakeholders agreed that the era of not having access to legal and safe abortion care should be over simply because denying women access to comprehensive abortion care and contraception will continue to increase maternal mortality rate and inability to invest more successfully in the future of our women and girls. Hence, we must increase the public awareness of causes and consequences of unsafe abortions.