Level of Awareness About Legalization of Abortion in Nepal: A Study at Nepal Medical College Teaching Hospital
Nepal Medical College journal : NMCJ 2010 Jun; 12(2): 76-80
World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 25.0% of all pregnancies worldwide end in induced abortion, approximately 50 million each year. More than half of these abortions are performed under unsafe conditions resulting in high maternal mortality ratio especially in developing countries like Nepal. Abortion was legalized under specified conditions in March 2002 in Nepal. But still a large proportion of the population is unaware of the legalization and the conditions under which it is permitted. Legal reform alone cannot reduce abortion related deaths in our country. This study was undertaken with the main objective to study the level of awareness about legalization of abortion in women attending gyne out patients department of Nepal Medical College Teaching Hospital (NMCTH), which will give a baseline knowledge for further dissemination and advocacy about abortion law. Total 200 women participated in the study. Overall 133 (66.5%) women said they were aware of legalization of abortion in Nepal. Women of age group 20-34 years, urban residents, service holders, Brahmin/Chhetri caste and with higher education were more aware about it. Majority (92.0%) of the women received information from the media. Detail knowledge about legal conditions under which abortion can be performed specially in second trimester was found to be poor. Large proportion (71.0%) of the women were still unaware of the availability of comprehensive abortion care services at our hospital, which is being provided since last seven years. Public education and advocacy campaigns are crucial to create awareness about the new legislation and availability of services. Unless the advocacy and awareness campaign reaches women, they are not likely to benefit from the legal reform and services.
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