At a time the debate over legalisation of safe abortion has become swept under the carpet in Malawi, it has emerged that some girls, in pursuit of terminating their unwanted pregnancies, are using life-threatening ways in Mzuzu.
While some girls use traditional ways, under the guidance of some local, unqualified midwives, others have inverted some despicable ways of flushing out inconvenient pregnancies.
The death of a primary school learner, aged 14 who died in course of terminating her pregnancy in Kajilirwi in Nkhatabay, compelled this reporter to carry out an in depth investigation into some of the ways some girls use to get rid of pregnancies in Mzuzu.
“I first saw it when at school in Mzimba. One of our colleagues got pregnant, and in pursuit of deleting it, to save herself from shame and withdrawal, she took some oil paint,” said a girl we are calling Zeinab for the purposes of this article.
She added; “After taking the paint, she began purging. Blood oozed profusely from her vaginalia. That’s when others claimed that the pregnancy was aborted.”
According to Zeinab, the girl, after some months, seemed to have developed some abdominal complications. When she went to the hospital for check ups, they diagnosed her of severe uterus damage.
“Up to now, though she is alive, I hear that she’s still complaining of stomach problems. Alot of things happen in boarding schools,” she said.
Zeinab who has furnished this article with several instances of girls she has seen engaging dreadful ways in pursuit of aborting their pregnancies, admitted; she’s a proponent of legislation of safe abortion.
“Imagine the one that died in Chiputula last year. I saw her inserting a wire through her private parts. She made a hook, and others deceived her that she’d fish out the zygote by the hook,” she said.
“She was my friend, and what I’m saying is true. Legalizing safe abortion is good. Alot of girls could be saved. Imagine that girl died after losing alot of blood. It was terrible.”
A girl we will call Mary in this article lost her uterus after hitting her womb hard with a steel bar, in pursuit of deleting her pregnancy. She was, by then, in form 2 at a boarding secondary school within Mzuzu.
She shared her story with us!
“I almost died. So when I discovered that I was pregnant, one of my friends advised me to use a steel bar to abort it,” she said.
“In desperate move, I took the bar and hit my tummy hard. Blood began oozing out from my vagina. I felt very painful in the stomach. It was a nightmare.”
Mary who recalls to have realised waking up in the hospital said; she regrets ever wanting to abort her baby. It was, perhaps the only one she could have had.
“They told me I destroyed my uterus, and I’ll never give life to anyone anymore. I regret. That decision was irrational, ” she whined.
In Malawi abortion is criminal. It is punishable by law. Only when the pregnancy has been deemed, by a competent medical practitioner, to have the potential of posing danger to the mother, abortion is permitted.
However, there has been an intense debate on legalizing it with an intent of saving more women and girls who die, behind the scenes, when carrying out unsafe abortions.
Advocates of the move back their stance with statistics which show that over 80 percent of girls who carry out abortion in secrecy die in the process.
On the contrary, other schools of thought argue that legalizing abortion would mean permitting massacre of innocent babies. This school of thought believe that life begins at conception, and legalizing abortion will be denying zygote their right to life.
Meanwhile, legislators swept the discussion on the issue under the carpet as it proved to be very contentious.
It is important to acknowledge, however, through this investigation that more and more women and girls continue to used life threatening ways to carry out abortion in secrecy.
Information we have sourced from some victims of unsafe abortions, and witnesses of the same has uncovered alot of dangerous ways through which females use to clean up their wombs.
Among the frequently used methods includes; overtaking detergent soaps, overdosing drugs, mosquito repellents, drinking acid, inserting cassava stems in their private parts, drinking petrol and diesel and at times drinking 50 litres of water.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :