Abortions under-reported, awareness on procedure poor, say doctors

Pvt hospitals reluctant to provide data, most women end pregnancy by taking pills

Doctors in the country see a trend of under-reporting of abortions and the situation in the state is no different. Also, people have little knowledge about the procedure to follow and clinics to approach for the abortions, they feel.

The under-reporting largerly has to do with the reluctance on the part of the private hospitals to report the terminations of pregnancy done performed by them.

Dr Rajkumar, deputy director of family planning, department of health and family welfare, feels there is large under-reporting in the state as less number of private hospitals furnish data.

As a result, statistics from the department of health and family welfare show that more abortions are performed in government hospitals in the state than the private ones.

Also, the number of government hospitals is more than private hospitals in the state, said Rajkumar.

He said there is reluctance on the part people to come forward to report abortions as there is a stigma attached to it. Private hospitals fail to provide the data and the issues has to be addressed, he said.

According to a report released by Lancet journal recently, the central government has underestimated the number of abortions in the country as 7 lakh, while the report mentions there were 1.6 crore abortions, in 2015. It said that 73% of the abortions through medication (non-surgical abortion in which a combination of two pills are used) are outside a health facility.

"Abortions are definitely under-reported because many women take pills in their homes. With over one crore abortions in the country, the state should be having more than 14,000 abortions," said Dr Gayathri Karthik, consultant, obstetrics and gynaecology, Manipal Hospitals.

"People do not know who the service providers are. Even the deliveries are not getting reported," said Rajkumar.

Although there are ASHA workers and other health staff to create awareness among the public, they fail to explain every aspect of pregnancy and abortion, he said.

He said monitoring and evaluation has to get better when it comes to collecting data on abortions.

Abortions data

2013 - 2014

Govt hospitals - 13,780

Pvt hospitals - 12,054

2014 - 2015

Govt hospitals - 10,895

Pvt hospitals - 11, 946

2015 -2016

Govt hospitals - 12,754

Pvt hospitals - 12, 531

2016 - 2017

Govt hospitals - 14,849

Pvt hospitals - 12,098

2017 -2018 (till Nov)

Govt hospitals - 10,248

Pvt hospitals - 8,429

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