Backyard abortions on the rise

Nyangabgwe Hospital
Nyangabgwe Hospital

FRANCISTOWN: Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital (NRH) is overwhelmed by high cases of unsafe abortion, something worrying to health workers.

During the debate on abortion held by the Botswana Family Welfare Association (BOFWA) at Francistown College of Education on Wednesday Dr Thato Kabondora explained that on a daily basis at the hospital, they deal with many cases of unsafe abortion. This, the doctor said, calls for a need for women to be sensitised on the danger of unsafe abortion from an early age.

She said that on average NRH attends to 80 cases of abortion not knowing if it was natural or planned abortion whilst in a year they attend to about 950.

“This is worrisome because abortion can destroy the future of this country because we talk of people’s lives exposed to danger. If not attended to on time abortion could cause deaths,” said Kabondora.


She said that usually the common age group of people who commit unsafe abortions is from 15- 35 years, who give different reasons for their actions.

She said that as medical doctors they have the safe way of terminating pregnancy in cases of rape and other life threatening cases but people use dangerous methods.

“Usually, women use equipment that is risky and has the possibility of exposing their lives to danger. Some of the women come to the hospital with substances inside their wombs that could result in permanent danger to their bodies especially the kidneys,” said Kabondora.

She said that the common things that they usually retrieve from women’s wombs are pens, leaves and branches of certain trees, chicken feathers, soap, and pills to mention a few. Kabondora said due to unsafe abortions, a lot of women lose a lot of blood, a situation that puts their lives in danger with a possibility of causing deaths.

She said that some women use pills that terminate pregnancy not knowing how to use them and end up overdosing, thus putting their lives at risk.

“We do not know where they take those pills from but plead with women to avoid unsafe abortions and rather practice family planning to avoid unplanned pregnancy which is usually the cause of unsafe abortions,” said Kabondora.

A nurse at Donga clinic and coordinator of sexual heath and sexually transmitted diseases, Caroline Setshego-Mmopi shared Kabondora’s sentiments saying they are worried by the high cases of unsafe abortions among the youth in Francistown.

Setshego-Mmopi said unconfirmed reports show that women in Francistown nowadays use the alleged urine therapy to conduct backyard abortions in Francistown.

“In some locations in the city they commonly use surgical spirits that can damage their kidneys as spirits are for external use only,” stressed Setshego-Mmopi.

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