Abortion pills popular among unmarried women

KATHMANDU, April 22: On an average, one woman every day is admitted at the Post Abortion Care Unit (PACU) of Maternity Hospital with severe complications arisng out of attempted unsupervised abortion at home.

Most women admitted under such circumstances are unmarried and use such methods as “medical abortion” without proper guidance of the health workers out of fear of being “exposed” in the society, health officials said.

Jaya Poudel, chief of PACU said repercussion of wrong use of abortion pills could be extremely dangerous to the reproductive health of the women.”Most of the time they have already lost lot of blood when they arrive here and they have to be transfused blood immediately,” Poudel said. “If termination is not completed by medicine, surgical intervention may be required.”

Sunaulo Pariwar Nepal (SPN), one of the leading family planning and safe abortion service provider that contributes more than 70 percent reported cases of safe abortion in the country, says every months more than 150 women comes with complications of incomplete abortion at its various Marie Stopes clinics.

The organization says women who come in the clinics after complications did not seek medical abortion from its clinics. “They come only after severe complications happen,” Prabin Shakya, Assistant Director of SPN, said. “It is a very big number, and cases of severe complications go directly to hospital emergencies.”

He said medical abortions were popular among unmarried women as it can be applied without surgery. “Unmarried women usually do not want to undergo surgical abortion because it is a kind of curate,” he said.

But due to haphazard availability of the pills in the pharmacies, complications like incomplete abortion and severe bleeding were increasing in the recent months. He also said illegal abortion pills available in the market were smuggled in from India. The government registered drugs cost Rs 700 but Indian drugs can be bought for as low as Rs 60.

The organization said out of total safe abortion services provided in the 2011, 17 percent were medical abortion. Shakya said medical abortion will gradually replace surgical abortion in future, if legal medical abortion drugs were made available throughout the country. But he stress strict monitoring of the illegal trade of the medicine.

The Department of Drug Administration (DDA) also confirmed that illegal abortion pills were widely available in the market. During inspections inspectors seize and punished the pharmacies but its availability has not lessened in the market said Shyam Adhikari, DDA inspector. DDA permission is needed to sell such medicine and can be sold only under the supervision of trained health workers.ARJUN POUDEL from republica

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