Gaborone — The Assistant Minister of Local government and Rural Development, Ms Botlogile Tshireletso, has called for formulation of policies that could promote safe abortion.
Speaking at commemoration of the International Safe Abortion Day, Ms Tshireletso called on government to come up with initiatives that could promote access to safe and legal abortion, saying many women continued to lose their lives due to unsafe abortion.
She said unsafe abortion was a serious public health problem.
Ms Tshireletso indicated that almost all complications and deaths from unsafe abortion could be prevented if safe abortion was accessible, affordable and available from healthcare facilities.
"Abortion is an essential part of women's sexual and reproductive lives and is essential to women's right to bodily autonomy. And the human right to life and to health can only be achieved for women and girls if they have access to safe abortion if and when they need it. We call on our governments and health professionals to provide universal access to safe abortion as part of universal health coverage and as an essential component of sexual and reproductive healthcare," she stated.
Ms Tshireletso said legalising abortion did not mean rounding up all pregnant women for termination but would be out of choice and consent.
Though illegal, Ms Tshireletso said abortions were rampant in the country.
"Everyday somewhere, a woman is fighting for her life due to a botched abortion performed by someone who is not qualified," she said.
Sexual and reproductive health officer from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Ms Molly Rammipi said the ministry had interventions in place for pre and post abortion since unsafe and illegal abortions were a significant cause of maternal mortality in Botswana.
"There is access to long term contraceptives and emergency contraception's, Increase of information on comprehensive post abortion cases and psychological counselling," she said.
For her part, Botswana Family Welfare Organisation representative, Ms Wame Gori said a gap should be filled of both pre and post abortion services.
The youth should be given a choice to decide what to do with their bodies.
She said that government should end unsafe abortion and fight the stigma and discrimination of abortion.
"We do not need any more of these deaths to be occurring due to backyard abortions," stated Ms Gori.
Source : BOPA