5 December 2010

Nigeria: Experts Seek Review of Abortion Laws

Abuja — As part of the strategy to address issues concerning fertility and reproductive health care, the Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of Nigeria (SOGON) has called for the review of the nation's abortion laws.This position was taken by the newly elected President of the association, Dr Fred Achim, during the group's 8th international conference in Abuja.

According to him, the current abortion laws have become so obsolete and archaic that they have run out of operation.

He said: "Our abortion laws we are using need to be reviewed. This is because the current law we are operating with is an 1880 law gotten from our colonial masters, Great Britain. They have gone ahead to formulate four laws on abortion and we are still using the one they left us with."

The President stated that 760 abortions take place in Nigeria annually and it explains why young mothers are dying prematurely, there is also a need to deal with the issue of unwanted pregnancy, it is only when we have a national view on unwanted pregnancy and improve our family planning policy, we continue to face these problems", he added.

Further, the body also called on the Federal Government to urgently look into the critical problem facing child mortality. Speaking on the issue, the out- going president of SOGON Dr. Tinuola Abiola-Oshodi said due to the difficulties associated with child bearing in the country, it has become expedient for the government to set up a national institute of Child and mortality health.

She observed that the setting up of such an institute will go a long way to support integrated maternal, newborn and child health strategy of the government in reducing maternal and newborn deaths as well as help in achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) four and five.

The association also decried the manner in which quacks are creating problems in the area of child bearing.

They warned that if nothing is done to stop inexperienced people from posing as experts in child bearing, the country runs the risk of having an increase in the death rate among newborns.

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