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AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF ABORTION AMONGST WOMEN OF REPRODUCTIVE AGE

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AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF ABORTION AMONGST WOMEN OF REPRODUCTIVE AGE

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background Of The Study

Pregnancy termination or induced abortion, defined as a pregnancy that is terminated by choice through intervention, is a major public health issue in Africa [1]. Regardless of the fact that abortion services in Africa are restricted with only 4 out of 54 countries having relatively liberal abortion laws [1]. Between 2010 and 2014, of the 6.86 million abortions carried out each year in Africa, 75.6% (95% confidence interval (CI) 66.4 to 81.4%) of these were classified as unsafe (using untrained practitioners and/or non-recommended methods) [2].  Unsafe abortion has serious adverse health consequences such as infections and fatality [2]. According to WHO(), unsafe abortion is a procedure for terminating unwanted pregnancy that is performed by someone lacking the necessary skills or in an environment lacking minimal medical standards or both. Notably, women of reproductive age account for 57% of abortions in Sub-Saharan Africa [3], with unsafe abortion being the leading cause of maternal mortality in this age group [4,5,6,7]. furthermore, abortions(especially unsafe abortion) has the possibilities to endanger women’s reproductive health and lead to serious, often life-threatening complications. In addition unsafe abortions impose a heavy burden on women and society by virtue of the serious health consequences that often ensue.

In Nigeria, the situation is further exacerbated by socio-cultural and religious beliefs whereby termination of pregnancy is viewed as murder and carries harsh penalties for providers [8, 9]. These factors contribute to women seeking clandestine abortion services with private providers who are mostly untrained, carry out procedures in unsafe environments using dangerous invasive methods [10, 11]. Notwithstanding, regardless of the punitive abortion laws in Nigeria, in 2012 the incidence of induced abortion was estimated as 33 per 1000 women of reproductive age[12]. More recently, a pooled analysis of the Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey data (NDHS) for 2011–2018 reported the percent of married women who had ever terminated a pregnancy as 3.8% .While much research has been published reporting on women’s knowledge, attitudes, practices and prevalence of pregnancy termination in SSA especially in Nigeria [3, 9, 12, 14], fewer studies have investigated causes and effect of abortion in among reproductive aged women in Nigeria. Thus, this study tends to occupy this gap.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Abortion is a relatively used term. It is the word used to describe the act of termination or destruction of a pregnancy. Abortion as a major subject in this study is the act of stopping the development of a child inside a woman especially by a medical operation[11]. According to Charl(12), abortion is one of the most explosive issues of the decade igniting raging debates in political, social, medical and theological fields all over the world. This is due to the consequences that befall reproductive aged women who engage in abortion, especially unsafe abortion.

Thus, unsafe abortion is of public health concern because of its dire reproductive health consequences and impact on maternal morbidity and mortality. Tackling this problem will go a long way towards achieving one of the Millennium Developmental Goals, which aims to reduce overall maternal mortality by two thirds[14]. Consequently, unsafe abortions can endanger women’s reproductive health and lead to serious, often life-threatening complications[18]. Furthermore, unsafe abortions impose a heavy burden on women and society by virtue of the serious health consequences that often ensue.

In the recent decade, about half of women age 15–49 years in Nigeria who have had an unwanted pregnancy have attempted to have an abortion and 10% succeeded.[5,7] It has been noted that the fear of social reprisal from an out-of-wedlock pregnancy or child birth contributes a great deal to making a pregnancy unwanted and possibly aborted. However, even among married women, Adhikari et al. reported that 41% of their current pregnancies were unintended hence leading to abortion. In the light of the above, this study is focused on the causes and effect of abortion among women of reproductive age.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

The overall aim of this study is to critically examine the causes and effect of abortion among women of reproductive age. Hence, the study will be channeled to the following specific objectives;

1.        Identify the factors which causes and contribute to women engagement in abortion.

2.        Ascertain whether abortion causes reproductive health complication.

3.        Determine possible effects of abortion among women.

1.4 Research Question

The study will be guided by the following questions;

1)        What are the factors which causes and contribute to women engagement in abortion?

2)        Does  abortion causes reproductive health complication?

3)        What are possible effects of abortion among women?

1.5 Significance Of The Study

This study will also be beneficial to the society as the results of this study will reveal the dangers of abortion, and the effect of abortion on the sexual practices among reproductive aged women(15-49) thereby encouraging parents and guardians to take actions and decisions that will better educate their youths  on abortion and its accompanying dangers.

Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as literature review. This means that, other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regards to the causes and effect of abortion among women of reproductive age.

1.6 Scope Of The Study

This study is structured to generally examine the causes and effect of abortion among women of reproductive age. However, the study will further identify the factors which causes and contribute to women engagement in abortion, ascertain whether abortion causes reproductive health complication, and determine possible effects of abortion among women.

The respondents for this study will be obtained from female undergraduate in University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

1.7 Limitation Of The Study

Like in every human endeavour, the researcher encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. More so, the researcher simultaneously engaged in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.


1.8 Definition of Terms

Mortality: Loss of life on a large scale.

Abortion: Termination of the pregnancy of a woman before it reaches full term.

Sexual activities: Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality. People engage in a variety of sexual acts, ranging from activities done alone to acts with another person in varying patterns of frequency, for a wide variety of reasons.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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