October 26, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
National Director of Marie Stopes Sierra Leone (MSSL), Dr. Felix Ikenna, has disclosed to newsmen that in 2015 they were able to prevent 92,422 unintended pregnancies in the country.
Dr. Felix Ikenna made the above disclosure on Saturday, 22 October, 2016 during a one-day media orientation on activities of the organisation at their office in Aberdeen, west end of Freetown.
Dr. Ikenna revealed that Marie Stopes was also able to prevent 708 maternal deaths and 33,272 unsafe abortions nationwide, adding that in 2015 they were also able to reach 52 percent of their clients who live in extreme poverty, while 55 percent were under the age of 25 years.
“We are basically doing Post Abortion Care (PAC) and not abortion because the laws of Sierra Leone do not allow medical practitioners to do so. We did 47,515 implant, 188,243 pills and 107,217 injectable as part of the family planning services that was delivered in 2015,” he disclosed.
Dr. Ikenna said when delivering PAC, clients would always be counseled as to whether they should be given surgical or medical PAC, noting that the impacts of both methods would be thoroughly explained to the clients.
Giving a brief background of Marie Stopes, Director of Programme Development and Quality, Dr. Edward Magbity, said the institution was established in 1976 and started operation in Sierra Leone in 1986 as a non-governmental organisation.
“Our vision is a world where every birth is wanted and our mission is children by choice not by chance,” he said.
He said the expansion of family planning access and uptake was widely considered as one of the cost-effective interventions in public health, adding that it reduces poverty, averts up to 30 percent of maternal deaths and 10 percent of child deaths.
Dr. Magbity disclosed that Marie Stopes’ key focus areas were young and poor people in society.
Explaining family planning and contraception, Marketing and Communications Manager, Quintin Salia-Konneh, said the procedure allows individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children, as well as helps them to space and time their births.
He said services rendered by Marie Stopes were absolutely free of charge to poor people in rural communities, adding that the contraceptives vary and that each of them has a timeline.
He said the intra-uterine contraceptive device (IUCD) lasts for 10-12 years, depo provera lasts for three months, while implant-jadelle lasts for five years, adding that the two permanent methods include vasectomy for men and tubal ligation for women.
While talking about abortion, Policy and Advocacy Manager Fodie P. O. Kamara said the process involves the removal or expulsion of the product of conception (fetus or embryo) before the period of viability, adding that abortion could be spontaneous or induced as well as complete or incomplete.
He noted that safety of abortion, like any other procedure, was dependent on skills of the provider and setting in which the services were provided.
“In desperation to have an abortion, women insert objects like stick, root, wire, knitting needle, coat hanger, ball-point pen, bicycle spokes, and chicken bones. They also ingest harmful substances like traditional concoction or over dose of drugs. They take toxic solutions like bleach, detergent solutions, and acid etc.,” he disclosed.
He added that the consequences of unsafe abortion include bleeding, infection/sepsis, peritonitis, and trauma to the cervix, vagina, uterus and abdominal organs.
He said long term consequences include upper genital tract infections, infertility, risk of ectopic pregnancies and spontaneous abortion in subsequent pregnancies.