What you need to know:
- Rift Valley, Nyanza/Western regions recorded the highest abortion rates of 64 and 63 per 1,000 women of reproductive age respectively.
- Eastern had the lowest with 20 abortions per 1,000 women.
- More than 70 per cent of women seeking post-abortion care were not using a method of contraception prior to becoming pregnant.
Kenyan women carried out 465,000 unsafe abortions last year, a key report shows.
This translates to a national abortion rate of 48 per 1,000 women of reproductive age (15-49 years).
"There are nearly 465,000 induced abortions in Kenya each year, virtually all of them clandestine and unsafe procedures," reads the report Incidence and Complications of Unsafe Abortion in Kenya: Key findings of a National Study.
"....a rate comparable to Uganda, but much higher than that of other countries in Africa or elsewhere in the world."
Rift Valley, Nyanza/Western regions recorded the highest abortion rates of 64 and 63 per 1,000 women of reproductive age respectively. Eastern had the lowest with 20 abortions per 1,000 women.
In addition, nearly 120,000 women received care for complications resulting from unsafe abortions in 2012.
More than three quarters of women who sought post-abortion care were treated for moderate or severe complications including high fever, sepsis, shock or organ failure which can require extensive treatment or hospitalisation, the report shows.
The study further shows that more than 70 per cent of women seeking post-abortion care were not using a method of contraception prior to becoming pregnant.
The report recommends that in order to prevent unintended pregnancies and the abortions that follow, women contraceptive needs must be met and post-abortion contraceptive counselling and services provided.
Director of Medical services Francis Kimani said the figures in Kenya found that 20,000 women annually sought medical care for abortion related complications and asked MPs to allocate resources to cater for women's health.
"Legislators should ensure necessary resources are allocated to the health sector as a matter of priority and to expand maternity protection for working women," he said.
He further urged MPs to speak on the behalf of women and children to ensure their voices are heard and to make sure that their rights and concerns are reflected in national development.
"Spending on women and children health is an investment not just a cost. Contributing to the wellbeing of families and communities is a key responsibility," Dr Kimani said.
In Kenya, unsafe abortion has long been recognised as a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality.
The prevalence of unintended pregnancy remains high with the year 2008 showing 43pc of births in the preceding five years were reported by women as unwanted or mistimed.
Many women in fear the side effects of contraceptives and those who do not fear cannot afford family planning products and services.
The study was conducted by the African Population and Health Research Centre, the Ministry of Health, Guttmacher Institute and Ipas.