Gender Gender

State urged to intevene in illegal abortions

SITEMBILE SIWAWA, Lusaka
SOME students from higher learning institutions in the country have urged government to scale-up interventions aimed at addressing unsafe and illegal abortions in Zambia.
The students who held a Youth Parliament last week sponsored by IPAS in commemoration of Commonwealth Day moved a motion that Government should scale-up interventions to address unsafe and illegal abortions in the country.
Current Zambia Demographic Health Survey maternal mortality statistics now stand at 398 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births, and it is estimated that 30 percent of these deaths are due to unsafe abortion.
Tifwepo Nkunika a fourth-year student at the University of Zambia (UNZA) said Government should start prosecuting girls and women who abort pregnancies without the authorisation.
Ms Nkunika noted that abortion in Zambia is only legal if the life of a mother and child is at stake and three doctors authorise for abortion to be conducted.
“I am meant to believe that prosecutors are not doing their job in prosecuting those women and girls who are aborting without the authorisation of three doctors and putting their lives at risk,” she said.
And Naomi Mikayaya, another UNZA student called on Government to provide information on unsafe and illegal abortions among youths.
Ms Mikayaya noted that young people have no knowledge on what constitutes a safe abortion.
She also called “for more information on the right usage of contraceptives among youths.”
Speaking earlier, Zambia All Party Parliamentary group on Population and Development (ZAPPD) chairperson Highvie Hamududu noted that teenage pregnancies, early marriages and unsafe and illegal abortions are on the rise and that young people should be equipped with information to make informed choices.
“Out of Zambia’s 14million population, 50 percent are young people aged below 19 years. This young population presents both an opportunity and a challenge, depending on the actions we take today,” Mr Hamududu said.
Meanwhile IPAS country director Felicia Sakala also reiterated calls for Government to provide interventions to address unsafe abortions among young people.
Ms Sakala said unsafe and illegal abortions have continued contributing to the high maternal mortality rate the country is witnessing.

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