Reducing Unintended Pregnancy and Unsafe Abortion in Uganda
A lthough HIV/AIDS is probably Uganda’s gravest public health issue, unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion also rank high among serious health problems facing the country. Unplanned births are common and represent a growing proportion of all births— almost 40% in 2000, compared with 29% in 1995. With such high levels of unplanned childbearing, it is likely that abortion is becoming increasingly common in Uganda, even though national law permits abortion only to save a woman’s life.1 Evidence from small-scale studies suggests that abortion to end unwanted pregnancies is widespread, that it is usually performed clandestinely in unsafe conditions and that unsafe abortion is a leading cause of maternal death in Uganda.2
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Wolff B, Blanc A and Ssekamatte-Ssebuliba J, The role of couple negotiation in unmet need for contraception and the decision to stop childbearing in Uganda, Studies in Family Planning, 2000, 31(2):124–137. 33. PRB, 1998, op. cit. (see reference 23). 34. Okwero M et al., The realities of unmet need in Uganda, Planned Parenthood Challenges, 1994, 1:17–19. 35. Kiragu K et al., 1996, op. cit. (see reference 16), Table 4.10, p. 40. 36. Blanc AK et al., Negotiating Reproductive Outcomes in Uganda, Calverton, MD, USA, and Kampala, Uganda: Macro International and Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics, Makerere University, 1996. 37. PRB, 1998, op. cit. (see reference 23). 38. Ibid. 39. Ibid. 40. Uganda Bureau of Statistics and ORC Macro, 2001, op. cit. (see reference 6). 41. Bankole A and Singh S, Couples’ fertility and contraceptive decision-making in developing countries: hearing the man’s voice, International Family Planning Perspectives, 1998, 24(1):15–24. Credits This report was written by Fatima H. Ahmed, Elena Prada, Akinrinola Bankole, Susheela Singh and Deirdre Wulf. The authors thank Florence Mirembe, Mulago Hospital/Makerere University, Uganda; Stephen Kisambira, Population Division, United Nations; and Frederick Mugisha, African Population and Health Research Center, Kenya, for having provided insightful comments on an earlier draft. They also acknowledge the guidance provided by colleagues at The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI): Beth Fredrick, Jennifer Nadeau, Melanie CroceGalis, Ann E. Biddlecom and Ann Moore. Susan London, an independent consultant, and Dore Hollander edited the report. This report is part of a larger project on unsafe abortion that is being implemented jointly by AGI and project partners in Uganda led by Dr. Florence Mirembe, Mulago Hospital at Makerere University. The project is supported by the Netherlands Ministry for Development Cooperation, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and the World Bank. Suggested citation: Ahmed FH et al., Reducing unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion in Uganda, Research in Brief, New York: The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2005 (No. 1).