Keeping Our Promise: Addressing Unsafe Abortion in Africa

Conference coverage and highlights

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Keeping Our Promise: Addressing Unsafe Abortion in Africa

November 8-11, over 250 health-care service providers, advocates, members of parliament, and women’s groups from across Africa will gather to share best practices and lessons learned in order to shape an agenda to eliminate preventable deaths and injuries from unsafe abortion. Ipas is sponsoring the three-day conference Keeping Our Promise: Addressing Unsafe Abortion in Africa in collaboration with the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (better known as FEMNET), the Ghana Ministry of Health, the International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Regional Office, Marie Stopes International and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

The conference focuses on unsafe abortion as a critical issue for reproductive health and rights in Africa and for achieving the Millennium Development Goal Five to reduce maternal mortality.

Eliminating unsafe abortion in Africa is imperative to fulfill the objectives of the Maputo Plan of Action (the African Union Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights), as well as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other global and regional commitments. (More about the conference goals.)

Ongoing coverage 

People's Daily Breaking the silence on unsafe abortion – Forum addresses broken promises on women’s reproductive health
-Relief Web, Nov. 10, 2010

People's Daily African Health Experts to discuss unsafe abortion
-Modern Ghana, Nov. 10, 2010

An estimated 36,000 young adults of school-going age die needlessly of unsafe abortion in Africa.

—Thokozile Ruzvidzo
Director of the African Centre for Gender and Social Development
at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

Promises to protect women from unsafe abortions must be kept, UN-backed forum told
-UN News Service, Nov. 10, 2010

In 1985, long before the African Union adopted the Maputo Protocol and Plan of Action; Ghana amended its archaic penal code to considerably expand the scope of abortion permissible under the law. What now remains is to apply these rules vigorously to achieve our common objective, access by our women to safe [and] legal abortions.

—Dr. Richard B. Turkson
Ghana High Commissioner to Canada

African Health Experts Discuss Unsafe Abortion in Ghana
-Behailu Shiferaw, New Business Ethiopia, Nov. 10, 2010

Unlike other countries where abortion can be allowed when a woman’s life is in danger, we do not have any law providing for abortion in Nigeria. What we have is a Criminal Act where anyone found procuring abortion, selling abortion-inducing drugs, or discussing how abortion can be procured is arrested.

—Patrick Ezie
medical student, Imo State University, Nigeria

Unsafe Abortion: A Concern for African Youth
-Chris Kiwawulo, RH Reality Check, Nov. 9, 2010

I've been a doctor for 40 years and I think I've seen too many women die totally needless and preventable deaths. [...] The policies are there. The declarations are there. What we need is to move from these into implementation and making the safe abortion a reality for women in our continent.

—Dr. Eunice Brookman-Amissah
Vice President, Ipas
Programs, Africa Alliance

The challenge of unsafe abortion in Africa
-BBC Network Africa's David Amanor's interview with Dr. Brookman-Amissah, Nov. 9, 2010

If Africa should meet the [Millennium Development Goals], we must give African women voices, choices and support to improve maternal health and eliminate avoidable maternal deaths.

—Deputy Minister of Health, Mr. Robert Joseph Mettle Nunoo
on behalf of President John Evans Atta Mills

Keeping Our Promise: Addressing Unsafe Abortion in Africa Conference Opens in Accra, Ghana
-Rosemary Ardayfio, on Brenda Zulu’s Keeping Our Promise blog, Nov. 9, 2010

We have the evidence, the knowledge, and the technologies to keep our promises to African women—now we must create the will.

—Getachew Bekele
senior advisor, Marie Stopes International Ethiopia

Saving Women's Lives: The Potential of Medical Abortion in Africa
-Jennifer Holloway, RH Reality Check, Nov. 9, 2010