Zimbabwe Revision of Comprehensive Abortion Care Guidelines a positive step towards addressing high maternal morbidity and mortality

By Memory Pamella Kadau Zimbabwe’s recent revision of its Comprehensive Abortion Care Guidelines marks a significant step forward in addressing the persistent challenge of high maternal morbidity and mortality linked to complications of abortion (Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care, 2023). Despite previous efforts, the burden remains evident, with abortion complications ranking as a major cause of maternal deaths in both rural and urban settings, according to a community-based study conducted by the Zimbabwe National Health Department (Zimbabwe National Health Department, 2022). This study further revealed that abortion complications…

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Challenging Online Post-Abortion Stigma in Zimbabwe: Advocating for Compassion

By Memory Pamella Kadau Introduction The discourse surrounding abortion remains a contentious and divisive topic worldwide, and Zimbabwe is no exception to the complexities that surround it. Recognising that the decision to undergo an abortion is deeply personal and multifaceted, individuals navigate this choice for various reasons. The subject is often marred by misinformation, disinformation, and pervasive stigma, posing significant hurdles for those seeking safe and reproductive healthcare. The social media space in Zimbabwe has become toxic toward young girls and women who undergo abortions. This editorial delves into the…

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Discussing the intersection of abortion and gender equality

By Memory Pamella Kadau Recently, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK), Rishi Sunak, declared that ‘women are women and men are men.’ His comments added further controversy to the ongoing debate on gender equality and the rights of transgender individuals. However, this also presents an opportunity to interrogate issues related to gender equality, particularly on abortion. After all, the ability to control one’s body has been historically denied to women, for example, the right to when and not to have a child. Abortion, the termination of a pregnancy,…

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The Role of Medical Professional Societies in Informing Communities on Maternal Health, Post-Abortion Care, and Abortion Laws Reform in Zimbabwe

By Memory Pamella Kadau Maternal health, post-abortion care (PAC), and abortion laws reform are critical issues that require comprehensive and accurate information dissemination to communities. In Zimbabwe, medical professional societies are crucial in informing and educating the public about these topics. In 2022, the World Health Organisation (WHO) introduced new guidelines on abortion to help countries deliver lifesaving care. This article explores the significant role of medical professional associations in Zimbabwe in promoting maternal health, providing post-abortion care, and advocating for abortion laws reform.  Further, it proposes how medical professional…

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Reviewing the impact of the legal lacuna in Zimbabwe’s abortion law

By Memory Pamella Kadau Zimbabwe has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world. According to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) of 2019, Zimbabwe has a maternal mortality ratio of 462 deaths per 100,000 live births and a neonatal mortality rate of 32 deaths per 1000 live births. While this is an improvement from the 614/100 000 live births for maternal deaths recorded in 2014, the slow rate of progress indicates that Zimbabwe is unlikely to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target for reducing maternal mortality.…

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Demystifying safe abortion: Getting the FACTS right!

By Memory Pamella Kadau The issue of abortion is often sensitive and divisive. It separates opinions, and this is mostly due to ignorance of the facts surrounding this subject. This article looks at some of the popular MYTHS surrounding abortion and sets out the FACTS as part of enriching debate on the topic. In doing so, the article will pose a question and then highlight a popular myth which and will then counter with factual information from science and practice. What is abortion? Myth: There is tendency by anti-abortionists that…

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Unpacking Zimbabwe’s post abortion care responsibility and gaps

By Memory Pamela Kadau Across the world, abortion related complications constitute part of the major reasons women seek emergency obstetric care. According to the Post Abortion Care Consortium, Post abortion care (PAC) consists of emergency treatment for complications related to spontaneous or induced abortions. It also includes family planning and birth spacing counseling, and provision of family planning methods for the prevention of further mistimed or unplanned pregnancies that may result in repeat induced abortions. Comprehensive PAC also includes services such as medical assessment for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.…

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Abortion is not illegal but restricted in Zimbabwe

By Memory Pamella Kadau Zimbabwe’s Termination of Pregnancy Act (TOP) provides a legal framework on when and how can women and girls access safe abortion services. The Act provides only three grounds under which pregnancy can be lawfully terminated in the country.  It further provides that pregnancies can only be terminated by a registered medical practitioner and authorized by a court order. However, these grounds are very narrow and result in a many women and girls seeking unsafe abortions every year which expose them to health complications and death. The…

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Access to abortion is critical for women socio-economic growth

By Memory Pamela Kadau The economy is often described as consisting of firms, government and households. Economic activities of households are determined by income, savings and what they can spend on such basics as health, food, education and clothing, socials amongst other recurrent needs of households. Of critical importance for the economic balance of the household is the number of dependents in each household. Children constitute the majority of dependents in households and meeting their needs takes up a significant amount of the household budget. In Zimbabwe, the government doesn’t…

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Abortion conversation must recognize women’s bodily autonomy and integrity

By Memory Pamella Kadau The previous installments touched on the legal regime regulating abortion in Zimbabwe having previously established that abortion doesn’t pose a moral dilemma. If anything, abortion services are part of the basic health needs for tens of thousands of women each year in Zimbabwe. That the law proscribes safe abortion by choice, limiting it to exceptional cases of medical emergencies, rape and incest is an act of injustice which undermines this right. This article will look at the dimension of how existing abortion regulation undermines the fundamental…

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