International Safe Abortion Day – A day for action towards access to Safe and Legal Abortion
Unsafe abortion is a major cause of mortality and morbidity and has been identified as one of the key health crises on the global health agenda. Ninety-eight percent of unsafe abortions take place in middle- and low-income countries with the most deaths occurring in countries with restrictive abortion policies.
It is no coincidence that the risk of death from unsafe abortion is the highest in the African region compared to the rest of the world. Along with a restrictive legal context, the continent is grappling with overburdened and weak health systems and the largest (and growing) youthful population in the world.
There are large disparities in the availability and accessibility to safe abortion care across the region. Even in restrictive legal contexts, safe abortion services will be available in some form. However, only women and girls who are socially, culturally or economically advantaged are likely to be able to access these services. Poor and rurally based women and girls of adolescent age are the most exposed to the possibility of harm and suffer disproportionately from complications related to unsafe abortion. There is great diversity in women’s and girl’s reproductive experiences and there is need to better understand which groups are most vulnerable to harm through being differentially situated in their economic, social and political contexts.
Over the last two decades, abortion research has been shaped by a complex set of ideological, legal, funding and methodological challenges which has contributed to significant gaps in our understanding over the extent and consequences of unsafe abortion in Africa. These challenges promise to be compounded by the narrowing of opportunity to support critical rights-based sexual and reproductive health issues; an example of which is the recent reinstatement and expansion of the scope of the Mexico City Policy under the Trump administration. Despite (and because of) these challenges, it is pressing that academia deepen the focus and generate new knowledge around the issue of unsafe abortion to better understanding the nexus between political, social, economic and health inequalities and outcomes and how these unfold at both State and nation level. This can have impact on policy reform and access to quality reproductive health services.
In the forthcoming months, HEARD’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Programme will be presenting a research series based on their current and planned abortion-related research in the Eastern and Southern Africa region. HEARD conducts applied research and supports policy development on critical health and development challenges for the African continent. HEARD’s research is located within a human rights framework and seeks to influence and support evidence-based policy and good practice to more effectively address Africa’s health and development challenges and to contribute to achieving health and sustainable development across the continent.
Unsafe abortion country factsheets
HEARD in partnership with the University of Birmingham will conduct a methodological workshop to structured around a series of presentations and discussions aiming to address these questions and to result in the development of new methodological tools for research on SGBV which is both locally ...>>
Public talk: Intimate partner violence among pregnant women in low-income countries – A case study of Rwanda
Intimate partner violence during pregnancy is associated with maternal mortality, adverse pregnancy outcomes and childhood growth impairment. Its effects may be exacerbated in resource-limited settings. Nevertheless, it has not been thoroughly investigated. In this talk, Dr Akashi Andrew ...>>
December 1 marked World AIDS Day. A brief moment reflection our recent achievements in the fight against HIV and AIDS point to some significant victories. Globally, we have more scientific knowledge on how the virus is transmitted with prevention and treatment options being tailored to suit ...>>
Media release: HEARD embarks on an extensive research project on young key populations in SADC countries
HEARD embarks on an extensive research project on young key populations in SADC countries, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme and African Men for Sexual Health and Rights Durban, South Africa | 1 December 2016 HEARD has successfully obtained a large research grant to ...>>
ARV treatment on the rise, but UN urges urgent action as thousands of young women continue to be infected with HIV. The number of HIV-infected people taking anti-retroviral (ARV) medicine has doubled in just five years, the United Nations said while highlighting high infection rates among young ...>>
HEARD’s Scholarship Programme aims to emphasise the mastery of quantitative and qualitative methods for understanding policy problems and for devising, evaluating and/or implementing policy solutions. The aim of providing PhD scholarships is to produce expertly qualified graduates to advise or ...>>
In the era of Sustainable Development Goals, the importance of linking sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) with HIV is rightly recognised. In Africa, most HIV infections are sexually transmitted or are associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding; moreover, sexual and ...>>
HEARD’s gender equality and health expert Andrew Gibbs and Nwabisa Jama Shai from the gender and health unit of the South African Medical Research Council on strengthening government, civil society and academic relationships for evidenced-based policy and programming to prevent VAWG. ...>>
Baseline data collection has begun for cluster randomised control trial to assess whether the Stepping Stones and Creating Futures intervention can reduce men’s perpetration and women’s experience of intimate partner violence (IPV) in urban informal settlements in Durban. Baseline data ...>>
We need to work with men and boys as become a key mantra of health programmes globally, particularly those concerned with HIV, violence and more recently sexual and reproductive health and rights, and yet there is very little known about how effective these programmes are, nor of the ...>>