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Unsafe abortion: A high cost for Sierra Leone

In Sierra Leone, unsafe abortions are common because abortion laws are restrictive and many abortions are performed clandestinely, contributing towards the fourth highest maternal mortality ratio in the world.

This factsheet reports on three studies conducted by the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation and IPAS, one of which gathered input from a range of stakeholders while the other two explored the burden of unsafe abortion on women and the health system.

These studies confirmed the impact of unsafe abortion on women in Sierra Leone, including:

  • An estimated 3,370 post-abortion cases were treated in 19 public facilities in 2011.
  • The use of obsolete abortion methods (dilatation and curettage) accounts for higher complication rates.
  • Unsafe abortion incurs significant costs:
      • a simple post-abortion care case costs approximately US$ 35 per case
      • Additional surgical or medical treatment costs US$ 272 per case on average
      • This represented an average annual government spend of between US$ 112,000 and US$ 230,000, when taking into account women seeking treatment at public facilities only

To read more about the work that IPAS does in Sierra Leone, click here>

IPAS. (2013). Unsafe Abortion: A high cost for Sierra Leone. Chapel Hill NC, USA: IPAS.
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