Characteristics of women undergoing induced abortion in a Kenyan tertiary referral hospital
Background: Data on characteristics of women who undergo abortion is important to inform reproductive health education strategies. Such data from sub-Saharan African countries is incomplete and inconsistent.
Objective: The characteristics of women undergoing abortion at Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya.
Methods: This was a prospective study. A structured questionnaire was administered to all women who had attended follow-up outpatient gynecology clinics. The questionnaire examined age, socioeconomic status, highest level of education, marital status and religion. Data obtained were analysed for frequencies and means using SPSS version 17.0 and presented in tables, pie charts and graphs.
Results: The most commonly affected age group was 20-30 years (57.8%) while the least was 34-39 years. Majority (64.3%) of the victims were unemployed. Of these, 23.5% were students. The most commonly affected were those with secondary level of education (59.3%). Unmarried women comprised 66.9%. Eighty eight percent of the victims were Christians with 47.4% being Roman Catholics. Muslims comprised only 6.8%.
Conclusion: Abortion occurs in women aged 15-40 years, peaking at 20-29 years, who are the unemployed or students. Majority are single and had attained at least secondary education. More Catholics than Protestants were affected. Most of these characteristics differ from those reported in earlier studies from the region, suggesting changing characteristics.
Key words: Abortion, Age, Socioeconomic status, Education, Kenya
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