A prospective study of the maternal mortality and morbidity and other related social problems among 144 cases of procured abortion in Ilorin, Nigeria over a 24-month period is presented. A mortality rate of 90.3 per thousand procured abortions was recorded. Genital sepsis, haemorrhagic anaemia, gut injury, uterine perforation and vesico vaginal fistulae (VVF) were encountered. Poor referral system, late presentation, poor blood transfusion services and inadequate availability of drugs had adverse effects on the patients. The implications (the menace and frequency) of these and possible measures like improving the literacy level, the moral standards, contraceptive practice and family life education (sex education) are discussed.
PIP: A review of the cases of 144 women who presented to the University of Ilorin (Nigeria) Teaching Hospital between July 1992 and June 1994 with complications of illegal abortion underscores the health hazards associated with this procedure. There were 13 deaths (90.3/1000 procured abortions) in this series. 77 of the abortion patients were teenagers; another 35 were 20-24 years old. Teenagers were more likely than women in the older age groups to obtain their abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy. 85 women were single. Major occupations represented in the group included students (32 women), house girls/maids (23 women), and business/trading (20 women). The desire to remain in school or retain employment were the reasons most commonly cited for terminating the pregnancy. Sepsis occurred in 39 women, while 18 experienced hemorrhagic anemia. The causes of death included generalized septicemia (3 cases), sepsis with anemia (3 cases), sepsis with jaundice (2 cases), peritonitis with abscess (2 cases), uterine perforation with peritonitis (2 cases), and endotoxic shock (1 case). The maternal mortality and morbidity associated with illegal abortion in Nigeria suggest a need to make family planning services more available to adolescents and single women and to ensure that the scope of family life education is expanded.