Sahel Medical Journal

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The management challenges of the complications of illegally induced abortions in Benin - City, Nigeria.

AE Ehigieba, SU Ighedosa, OF Emore, O Onafowokan


Unsafe, induced abortion is one of the three major causes of maternal mortality in Nigeria. Important surgical complications of unsafe induced abortions include post-surgical sepsis and haemorrhage due to trauma to the uterus, cervix and intestines. This study examined the case records of patients with induced abortion requiring major surgical intervention to manage the complications during a five-year period at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria. The results show that the most frequent surgical intervention was drainage of pelvic abscess in 38% of the patients. About 30% of` the patients ended up with severe structural damage to the pelvic organs, especially the uterus, with severe implication for the future fertility of these patients. This high risk of infection and significant structural damage is ascribed to the illegal status of abortion in Nigeria. The challenges that these surgical complications pose to the gynaecologist are discussed. The need to adequately equip and train clinicians to recognise and aggressively manage these complications is also discussed.

Sahel Medical Journal Vol.7(3) 2004: 95-97
AJOL African Journals Online