By DELPHINE ZULU-
GOVERNMENT says it is disheartening to learn that maternal mortality cases are still high in Zambia, especially as a result of unsafe abortions.
Home Affairs Minister, Ngosa Simbyakula said unsafe abortion was a growing concern due to its serious implications on the maternal mortality rate which stood at about 591 out of 100,000 live births.
“It is heartening to learn that maternal mortality in Zambia is currently at about 591 out of 100,000 live births and that up to 30 per cent of these maternal deaths are as a result of unsafe abortions,” said Dr Simbyakula.
Dr Simbyakula said it was sad that the country had high abortion related mortality and morbidity rates yet the Zambia Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1992 had been described as one of the most liberal abortion laws in the world.
He urged everyone to play a role in stopping the deaths from unsafe abortions because they were entirely preventable and only needed concerted efforts and commitment, especially that the country already had a Law under which a pregnancy could be legally terminated.
Speaking when he officiated at a commander’s workshop yesterday at Golden Peacock Hotel, the minister said it was unfortunate that women in communities were subjected to unsafe sex, unwanted sex and at times unwanted pregnancies that sometimes ended into unsafe abortions.
He implored law enforcers to acquaint themselves with knowledge on abortions and the related existing legal framework because Government would not allow women and girls to continue undertaking unsafe abortions.
“We should all be determined to prevent unintended pregnancies, and to reduce the need for abortions by implementing preventive strategies including contraceptives in order to save the lives of women and girls and invariably reduce the scourge,” he said.
And Inspector General of Police Stella Libongani urged Police Commissioners to be vigilant and acquaint themselves with laws regarding abortions.
She said the Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1992 should empower Law enforcement officers to save the lives of women and girls from unsafe abortions.
And IPAS country director Felicia Sakala called for the review of the act to make it user-friendly to offenders as well as victims.
“This act must help to empower the women to save their lives. I now appeal to stakeholders to come together and have this act reviewed,” Ms Sakala said.
Commander’s representatives, Bonny Kapeso said the entire country had been represented at the meeting and would ensure that the information gained was disseminated to lower organs for the benefit of the nation.