Democratic Alliance (DA) in South Africa has revealed shocking details about the private investigations it conducted, noting that the revelations were quite devastating.
The DA Jack Bloom on Wednesday said he found out that state hospitals in the province do not have data on illegal and botched abortions.
Bloom said he asked the Gauteng Health Department a question about rates of abortions in the province. He said the response he got had no information on illegal and botched abortions.
Bloom said the department released statistics on abortions in state hospitals and clinics in a written reply to his questions in the Legislature, but there was no information on illegal and botched abortions.
He said there was decline in legal abortions, from 20 796 abortions performed in 2013 to 16 736 in 2016.
More risky abortions performed after 12 weeks pregnancy in 2013 were recorded at 3 575 – less than the years before.
In 2014 the department recorded 4 157 abortions and only 2 738 in 2015.
“It is unclear why there has been a decline in abortions in state facilities and it could be due to fewer unwanted pregnancies or to wider use of contraceptives,” said Bloom.
He said it could also be due to poor abortion services at state hospitals and clinics, or nurses who scold pregnant women who want abortions.
There was anecdotal evidence that pushes some women to have dangerous private abortions by unqualified people.
“The department cannot give any information on illegal or botched abortions, including deaths from such abortions, because it says ‘this information is not routinely collected therefore not readily available’,” said Bloom.
Bloom said he is concerned that statistics in this regard were not being collected as this would indicate areas of improvement that could held prevent illegal abortions.
“We need to understand why many women still have abortions by illegal private operators that endanger their lives, and take effective steps to prevent this,” said Bloom.
However, put up publicly, Gauteng MEC for Health, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, said 2016 has seen a slight increase of legal abortions performed in Gauteng from 15 352 to 16 736.
She said of these 10 700 were done at hospitals while clinics performed about 6 036.
Ramokgopa said: “To further decrease the demand in unplanned pregnancies, the department planed to increase promotion of contraceptive services and post-abortion care”.
She said this will be done through intensive training of all professional health workers on Long Acting Reversible Contraception.
“The first trimester terminations are available in the Community Health Centres and communities are aware of these services. The challenge is the limited number of doctors trained to perform second trimester termination of pregnancy at hospital level,” explained Ramokgopa.
She said the department was considering the training of more doctors to provide second trimester termination of pregnancy.