A Gynecologist with the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Dr. Godwin Akaba, has described as “alarming”, the rate of deaths caused by unsafe abortions in the country.
Akaba said on Wednesday in Jos that many lives were lost on a daily basis to crude abortions, and described the trend as “scary”.
The expert said that many of those who survived often suffer acute complications such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which could lead to secondary infertility, systemic infection and ectopic pregnancies.
“Some women even remain maimed for life by the instruments used to procure the abortion,” he said.
Akaba, who quoted a report from a survey conducted by Guttmacher, a U.S.-based research institute, lamented that 40 per cent of women, who undergo unsafe abortion in Nigeria, experience severe complications.
He explained that the complications around the pelvic, if left untreated or poorly treated, could lead to the blockage of the Fallopian tube resulting into infertility.
“When the infection spreads through the Fallopian tubes and ovaries, PID may develop; that could lead to chronic pelvic pain, bilateral tubal occlusion due to scars formed around the uterus, and secondary infertility,” he explained.
He defined secondary infertility as failure to conceive again, after an established pregnancy.
“Based on research, 20 to 30 per cent of unsafe abortion procedures result in reproductive tract infections which lead to secondary infertility.
“Unless the tubes are unblocked via surgery, the chances of conception are very slim because the Fallopian tube serves as a passage for the ovum (egg cell) from the ovary to the uterus, where it meets with the sperm for fertilisation.
“Tubal blockage is what essentially leads to infertility; even if it does not lead to the complete blockage of the Fallopian tube, it could make the endometrium (the lining of the uterus were the foetus stays) very hostile and predispose the woman to recurrent miscarriage,” he said.
He defined PID as an infection of the female reproductive organ, ascending from the outer urinary tract into the inner urinary tract.
“This occurs when infection spreads upwards through the genital tract, causing damage to the Fallopian tubes and ovaries,” he said.
According to him, PID is one of the most serious complications of unsafe abortions and sexually transmitted disease in women.
He said that it could also lead to ectopic pregnancy where a fetus grows outside the womb and, if not detected early, could lead to the death of the mother.
Akaba attributed the alarming rates of unsafe abortion to Nigeria’s restrictive laws which prohibited induced abortion, except when the life of the mother was in danger.
“The situation has forced many women to patronize quacks which has often proved to be dangerous,” he said.