Kathmandu, December 25
The government provides safe abortion service free of cost across the country through various health facilities. However, data show that many women are not taking this service due to lack of awareness and to keep the matter a secret.
Karuna (name changed), a 26-year-old woman from Mugu, got pregnant for the fifth time. She already has four daughters. Considering her poor financial condition, she decided to go for abortion. But, she prioritised secrecy over safety and thus reached Kathmandu traveling a long way. She had to spend around Rs 80,000, including transport fare, medical bills, and food and lodging expenses. She is facing health complications after abortion as she did not have any idea about safe abortion centres.
There are many other women live Karuna, who hesitate to talk about pregnancy and abortion. Due to this, many women land up at wrong places for abortion.
Dhana Basnet, a nurse at Family Welfare Division, informed that 1,200 health centres and hospitals, including private health centres across the country, provide free abortion service, but women do not visit the nearby health centres fearing disrepute.
According to a study conducted by Centre for Research on Environment Health and Population Activities in 2017, 42 per cent abortions were conducted at government-approved health facilities and the remaining 58 per cent were illegal and carried out by untrained health workers.
This huge percentage of unsafe abortions accounts for the large proportion of unsafe abortion-related deaths and injuries.
A version of this article appears in print on December 26, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.