Safe abortion makes life easier for rural girls, women

Published On: December 9, 2018 06:30 AM NPT By: Krishna Oli

BAJURA, Dec 9: Two years ago, Shristi Sharma, 21, conceived while she was not married yet. She got extremely worried not knowing what to do. Her boyfriend, with whom she tied the nuptial knot last year, also could not think of any idea either. However, the couple finally decided to get an abortion.

"However it was not easy," Sharma said. "We took time in reaching that decision as things had turned complicated. We wanted to do it, but we realized that we didn't have good hospitals around for that."

Amid dilemma, Sharma went to a hospital in Achham. Going to Achham from her hometown in Bajura was not easy. There was no good transportation service available. "And traveling in a bus which was not in a good condition was a huge risk."

After marriage, she conceived again. But the couple was not prepared to have a baby. "There were some family problems, and we had some plan for our plans based on financial security. As such we were not ready to welcome a baby in our life," Sharma reported.

As such, when she needed to abort again, it gave her a serious problem. Despite the problems she thought of, the couple was not ready for another baby. "Lastly, I planned to go to Achham again, the same hospital for aborting my baby."

But she was 'saved' from going to Accham. She came to know that safe abortion services were available at her own village. And that too, the services were free of cost. "That news was so relieving for both of them."

After knowing about the service, she rushed to the health facility that was near to her village. After a thorough checkup, she was given a packet of medicine.

Earlier, abortion was only possible through clinical services in Accham, but she was delighted to realize that abortion could be done through tablets also if the pregnancy was within the safe period. "I took some medicines and then I was free of the unwanted pregnancy," Sharma said.

Sita Nepali, 26, also got rid of unwanted pregnancy in the same health facility. The mother of two did not want any more children. When she realized that her menstruation cycle was not going well, she had doubts. "When I realized that I was pregnant I was already pregnant for over two months," she said.

When females in village conceive but do not want a baby, they try many methods to abort the fetus. But some methods can be unsafe. As such, Nepali also turned quite restless over the fetus growing inside her womb.

"I don't know what I would have done if this facility was not available here. Maybe I would have been forced to give birth to yet another child," she said.

But since she was informed about the abortion service in her own locality, she did not have to worry much. She went to the facility and got the work done.

These are just examples. Safe and free abortion services in their local health centers have greatly helped dozens of women and girls. Among 28 health centers in the district, the government is providing abortion service from 15 of them.

However, the health authority is mulling on the idea of expanding the services to all the health centers. According to Rup Chandra Bishwokarma, chief of District Health Office, the services are being provided in coordination with the local body.

"Earlier, the local body was not strong to takes its own decision. However, due to the federal set up, we have local bodies, a local government that have their own decision making power. It has become easier to provide service," he noted.

Bishwokarma stated that the aim of the services to provide such services to women in rural areas as they are the most vulnerable. "If we talk about unsafe abortion, the rural women try very risky methods to abort fetus," he said. "So, we have to reach out to them with this safe abortion technology."

Abortion services in rural centers were introduced 14 months ago. A growing number of adolescent girls and women are receiving the service from the health facilities in Rugeen, Jukot, Sappata, Pandusain, Dahakot, Aatichaur, Jay Bageshwori, Toli, Budhi Ganga and Dewalsain, among other villages.

"As per the law, woman and girls can do an abortion if they have not crossed three months of pregnancy. After that, they can go for abortion only if there are health complications or other serious reason behind it," said a staff nurse Sushila Singh. "The constitution has guaranteed women's right to their body. But many are still deprived of the service," she added.                                                                     

Singh said that there is a huge number of adolescent girls who come for the abortion service. Similarly, both married and unmarried women seek it. "This service is essential for all. All age group of women," she said.

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