1 December 2006
Because abortion is banned in Uganda (except to save a woman's life) and because strong social stigma surrounds the issue, many women try to conceal their unplanned pregnancies and abortions. The clandestine nature of abortion makes it difficult to measure its incidence in Uganda and allows policymakers to avoid dealing with the problem. Yet the serious health consequences of abortions carried out in unsafe conditions by untrained or poorly trained practitioners impose a heavy burden on women, families and Uganda's already overburdened health care system. Studies of women hospitalized for the treatment of complications from unsafe abortion have documented the tragic burden of morbidity and death borne by many Ugandan women. New research findings now make it possible to fill in the many gaps in our understanding of the prevalence, causes and consequences of induced abortion in Uganda.