Ipas Workshop: Reducing Maternal Mortality and Morbidity by Unsafe Abortions Role of the Federation of African Medical Students Associations (FAMSA) 19th – 20th August 2011, Hilton Hotel, Nairobi, KENYA
Ipas, an International NGO advocating for the protection of women’s health and the advancement of women’s reproductive rights, held a workshop for the FAMSA Executive Council at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss issues relating to women’s health and reproductive rights, particularly the aspect of unsafe abortions. Dr. Olajide Ademola, the African Union Head of Health, Nutrition and Population, African Union Youth Division representative, Daniel Adugna and Ipas Representatives as well as a 15 member delegation of Medical Students from across Africa comprising the FAMSA Executive Council were present to discuss the global tragedy of unsafe abortions and how it has affected the world’s most vulnerable women. Facts about unsafe Abortion,
Each year, an estimated 20 million unsafe abortions take place world-wide, 95% occurring in the developing world. Of the 70,000 estimated annual deaths due to unsafe abortion worldwide, nearly half occur in Asia An estimated 13% of all maternal deaths in the world are due to unsafe abortion – in Latin America, 21% of all maternal deaths are due to unsafe abortion. Globally, unsafe abortion causes 57 deaths per 100,000 live births.
Unsafe Abortions contribute 13% of Maternal Deaths globally, with Sub Saharan Africa contributing 204,000 out of the 207,000 deaths in Africa annually. Despite this, legislation in most African countries continues to be strict and in most circumstances does not allow conduction of medical abortions in the hospital setting. Other countries have more lenient laws on the circumstances allowing for medical abortion and this coupled with appropriate community and policy maker education has discouraged the conduction of unsafe abortions.
During the workshop, FAMSA developed a communiqué on unsafe abortion, which will highlight FAMSA’s beliefs and action areas. This is line with its WHO, Unsafe Abortion, 1998 vision to become a strong network of medical students, aware of global health issues and responsive to the current issues facing the medical profession and global health, especially in this line the maternal mortality caused by unsafe abortions. This communiqué will be circulated to governments, civil organizations, health training institutions, medical students
associations and all interested stakeholders and will enable FAMSA to contribute to the improvement of sexual and reproductive health in Africa. FAMSA has worked with Ipas and will continue advocating for the advancement of sexual and reproductive health and promotion of women’s reproductive rights, including the reduction of Maternal Mortality through supporting health policy and legal implementations that discourage unsafe abortions as well as reforms that will discourage the same. FAMSA has also developed strong partnerships with the African Union through the Health, Nutrition and Population division as well as the Youth Division and will to continue to expand across the African continent and seek more partnerships with various organisations. FAMSA has a mandate to make this information known and shared within the ever growing network of Medical Students Associations across the continent as it prepares for its 27th Annual Scientific Conference and General Assembly with the theme, “Promoting Maternal and Child Health in Africa” to be hosted by Gulu University, Uganda in March 2012 and it is hoped that the upcoming event will have even greater coverage across the African Continent. All medical students associations in Africa are invited.
Ipas Workshop attended by: Ipas representatives, African Union Commission representatives and the Federation of African Medical Students Associations (FAMSA) Executive Council, at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, 19th – 20th August 2011. By
Webby Emmanuel Phiri FAMSA Regional Coordinator Southern African Region University of Zambia Medical Students Association (UNZAMEDSA)