Abortion, unless it is procured save the life of an expectant mother, is illegal in Tanzania, yet it continues to take place. In the first nationally representative study of the incidence of abortion and the provision of post-abortion care in Tanzania, researchers found that clandestine abortion is common and is a major contributor to maternal death and injury.
The study—conducted by researchers from the US-based Guttmacher Institute and Tanzania’s Nimri and Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences—found that an estimated 405,000 abortions were performed in the country in 2013.
According to a story published in The Citizen yesterday, 15 women in Mwanza Region die from unsafe abortions every year. And in Mafia District, reports indicate, 15 per cent of maternal deaths are associated with unsafe abortions.
The conclusion we arrive at is: procurement of abortion is a reality in Tanzania. If we have such figures, which represent only those who suffer injuries and those die following an abortion, it is certain that, we are just noting the tip of the iceberg.
Surveys show that in 2013, some 66,600 women received post-abortion care in health facilities for complications resulting from unsafe abortions, leaving almost 100,000 women who experienced complications but didn’t receive the necessary medical care. Women who suffer post-abortion complications that are not treated may end up with health problems, some which could lead to infertility or even death.
Since abortion takes place despite the law, there is a need to study why that happens. All in all, it is obvious that we have many girls and women who get pregnant inadvertently. It is about unwanted pregnancies. Reasons why a pregnancy becomes unwanted range from social to economic.
To protect girls and women from situations in which they consider an abortion necessary, its hazards notwithstanding, there is a need to step up education on safe sex and family planning, including abstention.
OBSERVE PRUDENCE IN SPENDING
The European Union (EU) has agreed to extend a Sh490 billion grant to Tanzania. This money will be directed into health, water, agriculture and industry projects.
This is part of the over Sh1.5 trillion that the EU plans to extend to Tanzania to support the country’s development initiatives.
Going by the size of our economy, Sh490 billion is a substantial amount. If those entrusted with expending it do so prudently, it can bring about the desired changes to thousands of Tanzanians.
Therefore, proper planning and transparency are two crucial elements in ensuring that this grant will indeed be effective in supporting the targeted people. The EU has remained an unwavering supporter of Tanzania’s economy for decades. This support comes with a duty—expending the money prudently.
It means, the target projects should be implemented as per their established business and strategic plans. Their effects should bring positive results in related sectors as well. The most important effect should be building people’s capacity to become self-reliant.
The projects to be implemented should be those that are aligned with both the National Five Year Development Plan and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
After over five decades of being an aid recipient, Tanzania should use its resources and achieve self-reliance, especially in running its budget.