Rampant use of abortion pills puts women at risk

Published On: October 24, 2016 02:49 AM NPT By: Kalendra Sejuwal

SURKHET, Oct 23: A girl of about 13 entered a medical store at Pushpalal Chowk, Nepalgunj and asked whether abortion pills were available. 

The store owner gave her a strip of medicine. “This is a good one with high sales and is 98 percent effective, “ the owner said, adding,”But we do not provide any bills.”  
Transaction in abortion pills is illegal, so they sell it secretly, she told Republica. 

This is a representative case. The use of abortion pills such as mifepristone/misoprostol is rampant in  various parts of the district. 

A 32-year old woman, Yam Kumari Gaha, breathed her last at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital at Birendranagar due to excessive bleeding. According to doctors, the cause of death was rampant use of abortion pills. Use of abortion pills without consulting a doctor may lead to several complications including ‘incomplete abortion’, according to Dr Dambar Khadka, medical superintendent at the regional hospital. 

Shova Sahi, 21 of Dailekh faced a similar situation a few days back. She was taken to hospital by relatives after she suffered excessive bleeding. Doctors could not save her. Later it was found that she was 28 weeks pregnant. The cause of death was uterine rupture and subsequent bleeding, according to Dr Dambar Khadka. 

Many women do not consider how many weeks pregnant they are before using the medicine and this is the main cause of complications, according to health professionals. 
Most of the patients are found to be suffering from excessive bleeding and infection, according to Durga Laxmi Shrestha, chief nursing Oofficer at Bheri Zonal Hospital, Nepalgunj. “The medicine does not have a severe effect if used in the right way but rampant usage can have severe results,” she added. 

The Mid-Western Regional Health Directorate has not taken seriously the easy availability and open sale of this medicine at drug stores. “We have not monitored the drug stores to check if they are selling abortion pills,” said Khem Raj Upadhyaya, the acting director. 
The public can get the medicine for free from health institutions under the government.

People can benefit doubly if they appear at the hospital before using abortion pills, said Dr RP Dikshya, family division chief at the directorate. A total of 32 cases of complications from abortion pills were recorded at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital and 18 cases were recorded at Bheri Zonal Hospital in the last three month. 

Consultation with doctor a must for  abortion pills 

Dr Shilu Aryal, Chief Consultant Obstetrican/Gynaecology at Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital
First, it is illegal to sell abortion pills through medical stores without a prescription from a registered doctor. The Department of Drug Administration should regulate the medical stores to implement this provision effectively. Similarly, abortion pills should be available only for women up to eight weeks since their last menstrual cycle.

A pregnant woman should first go through pregnancy tests. But medical stores provide the medicine without any such test. As a result, women suffer many complications including excessive bleeding.

Another crucial aspect is knowledge of proper use of the pills. Therefore, there should be awareness among patients about how to use the medicine before starting on it.

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