Vigil In Memory Of Women And Girls Who Have Died Due To Unsafe Abortions
28th September is World Safe Abortion day and 2020’s theme was Self-Managed Abortion around the access to medical abortion as an important method for women seeking to end pregnancies. Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum (UYAHF), in partnership with the Tusitukilewamu group, organized a vigil in memory of women and girls who have died due to unsafe abortions. The vigil was attended to by 35 participants (28F, 7M) who included health workers from Kawala health centre III, adolescents, and young people who live within and outside Ddobbi zone Kalerwe, survivors of unsafe abortion, media, and CSOs.
This particular community was chosen because of the challenges they face, such as high rates of unwanted pregnancies, drug abuse, HIV&AIDS, and unsafe abortions. The people in the community shared their various experiences and one thing that stood out was many young girls in these slum communities lack correct information around SRHR, need youth-friendly corners, and a peer-to-peer approach. This lacking has bred an environment where adolescents and young people face a lot of SRHR challenges. During the COVID time, this community recorded 3 deaths related to unsafe abortion, one of those who died while aborting had carried out unsafe abortions twice and the third time, she lost her life. Although services are sometimes available, there is still an issue of trust and discrimination between health services and youth.
Kawala health centre provide various services such as de-worming, malaria treatment, HIV&AIDS testing services, family planning services, antenatal services, pregnant tests and referred women and girls that needed to get post-abortion care services. Health workers who attended the vigil were providing information and attending to the various health needs of the people in the community. Meanwhile, music, dance and drama were used to bring about positive change in the community but also to lighten to the mood and create a space for entertaining those at the vigil.