What you need to know:
- Health officials in Meru raise concern over rising cases of abortion among young women aged over 25 years.,
- A total of 3,475 abortion cases were reported in various hospitals between January and October this year.
Health officials in Meru have raised concern over rising cases of abortion among young women aged over 25 years.
Previously, abortion has been linked to unwanted pregnancies among teenagers but health officials now link the emerging trend on decline in uptake of contraceptives.
Speaking during a reproductive and maternal health indicators review meeting on Tuesday, Meru medical services deputy director Lenah Naitore, said 3,475 abortion cases were reported in various hospitals between January and October this year.
Dr Naitore noted that the increase was phenomenal compared to 2020 when about 2,718 cases abortions were reported in the entire year, representing a 20 per cent increase compared to this year's cases that do not capture November and December data.
According to data from the health department, cases of reported abortions have been on an upward trajectory since 2016 when 1,187 cases were recorded.
In 2017, health facilities recorded 1,311 abortions, 1,847 cases in 2018 and 2,510 incidents in 2019.
“The numbers show the abortion rates are on the rise and something must be done. The most critical concern is that the most abortions are by women aged over 25 years. This means most of the young people are not using contraceptives. There is a need to increase advocacy on use of contraceptives among the youth,” Dr Naitore said.
According to Meru County Health Records Officer Robert Kinoti, the cases of abortion doubled within a span of four months increasing from 1,690 in June to 3,475 in October 2021.
Out of the more than 3,400 abortion cases, 1,985 abortions were recorded in North Imenti followed by Igembe South with 430, Buuri West, 347, and Buuri East 237 cases.
Dr Naitore said the county government has responded to gaps in the health sector by allocating about Sh2 million towards family planning services.
Hot spot areas
She said the county has also intensified its effort in eradication of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by training health workers in hot spot areas as well as establishment of a technical working group on FGM.
DSW Kenya Advocacy Officer Winfred Nkatha, lauded the funding of family planning services by the county government saying this would help improve uptake.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Statistical Abstract of 2020, there were more than 90, 200 abortions reported in Kenya in 2019.