Abortion rate continues to rise

Kathmandu, April 21

Usha Tamang (name changed) recently underwent an abortion at a clinic in Kathmandu. The mother of two says that her husband, who works abroad, comes to Nepal only once or twice a year.

“It is difficult to use contraceptives without getting my husband’s permission. Since my husband works abroad, I can’t keep such things at my home,” Tamang said.

Abortion rates in the country has been rising, especially among unmarried women, women who don’t want children early, women whose husband are away from home, as they are not included in the National Family Planning Programme.

Although the government has been providing modern family planning mechanisms, the Contraceptive Prevalence Rate has been decreasing. According to the annual report (2014-15) of Department of Health Service, 43 per cent is the CPR at national level. While it is 27 per cent among the uncovered group of women who do not come under the family planning programme.

Puskar Bijukchhe, information officer at District Public Health Office, Kathmandu, said the National Family Planning Programme has been focusing on this group for four years, but is unable to increase the CPR in the country. “The abortion rate has been increasing because we are not being able to incorporate all groups of women into the family planning programme,” Bijukchhe said.

According to data from the District Public Health Office, between 2016 -17, 1,599 women have done abortion legally in Kathmandu. Among them, 31 per cent women are below 20 years. In the group below 20 years, 13 per cent go to hospitals for regular check-up after abortions and 25 per cent don’t go for check-up. “These records show the figures for abortions that were done legally. We don’t have any numbers for the illegal abortions done across the country,” Bijukchhe shared.

“Until the family planning programme incorporates all groups, the abortion level in the country will not decrease. It will only increase every year,” said Dr Mahesh Puri, demography and public health expert.