ZAMBIA has the least usage of condoms in Africa, Ipas programme manager Patrick Djemo has claimed.
Ipas is a global non-profit organisation that works around the world to eliminate deaths and injuries from unsafe abortions and increase women’s ability to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights.
Ipas’ work is grounded in the belief that women everywhere must have the opportunity to determine their future, care for their families and manage their fertility.
Speaking at a training workshop for journalists on better coverage of reproductive health issues in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Djemo said most people in Zambia have unprotected sex.
“Most people in Zambia go for ‘live’ sex, in fact, Zambia has the least usage of condoms in Africa,” Dr Djemo said.
He said unprotected sex leads to unwanted pregnancies, which cause women to procure unsafe abortions.
“If we want to reduce or prevent abortions, let us first talk about and deal with unprotected sex. Let us first ensure that citizens have access to contraception,” Dr Djemo said.
He also regretted the country’s low contraception uptake, at 41 percent.
Dr Djemo said this statistic should be improved so that citizens have access to contraception and in turn prevent unplanned pregnancies.
“There is need to increase the uptake of contraceptive by women,” he said.
Dr Djemo urged journalists to write stories highlighting challenges hindering women from accessing safe abortions.
He also noted that countries with the most restrictive abortion laws have a higher number of abortions and maternity mortality.
And a lecturer at the London School of Economics, Ernestina Coast, said unsafe abortions are huge costs in many countries in the world.
“It costs the Zambian public health system 2.5 times more to provide post-abortion care for unsafe, induced abortions than to provide safe abortion,” she said.
And Women and Law in Development coordinator Muzi Kamanga said women who undergo unsafe abortion are often the poorest in society.