Maternal deaths have become a menace in Kenya with unsafe abortions linked as the major cause of these high numbers. Worldwide, unsafe abortions account for 47,000 maternal deaths, with over 90 percent of these deaths recorded in low and middle-income countries.
A new study conducted by the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) together with the Ministry of Health and other partners has revealed that over 1300 abortions are carried out across the country in a day, which amounts to half a million abortions in a year.
The government has been at the forefront in educating the masses on the dangers of abortions, investing over Ksh 533 million in treating post-abortion complications in public health facilities, by training healthcare personnel and getting medical supplies and equipment as of these unsafe abortions, a majority result in complications. A 2012 Incidence and Complications of Unsafe Abortions in Kenya study estimated the numbers to 157,762 women in need of this post-abortion care, as most women who report to public health facilities are treated for severe bleeding, organ failure, genital trauma among other life-threatening conditions.
To follow up on its initiative to cut down on the number of abortions, in 2018, the government conducted another study on the Cost of Treating Unsafe Abortion Complications in Public Health Facilities. Rift valley reported the highest number of unsafe abortions, with Sh112 million spent on treating attendant complications, followed by Western, Nyanza, Central, Nairobi, Eastern, Coast, and North Eastern.
Lack of proper guidelines on how to secure safe abortion saw the High Court reinstate the safe abortion guidelines through the Ministry of Health, which had been abolished in 2013. However, post-abortion care is limited in the country because a majority of health facilities in Kenya, including referral facilities, are not well equipped to meet the needs of these women.