Rwanda NGOs Forum on HIV/AIDS and Health Promotion (RNGOF on HIV/AIDS & HP) in collaboration with the members of the coalition namely Ihorere Munyarwanda Organization (IMRO), Health Development Initiative (HDI) and Great Lakes Initiative for Human Rights and Development (GLIHD) have marked the International Day on Safe Abortion, themed ‘The role of CSOs in prevention of Unsafe Abortion among Women and Girls in Rwanda, with aim to keep partnering the government of Rwanda in mitigating unsafe abortion.
The celebration took place in Kigali on September 28, 2020 in line with a project called “Strengthening Rwanda SRHR CSO Network: Linking SRHR-focused CSOs to Build a Strong Voice” which is funded by Amplify Change.
“We are marking this Day because we are determinedly keen on supporting safe abortion through sensitization, advocacy and other possible means in connection with service providers and beneficiaries, for it is our duty as civil society.” Said Aimable Mwananawe, National Coordinator of Ihorere Munyarwanda Organization (IMRO).
“We thank the government for providing facilities to help those in need of safe abortion service, and we thank the civil society coalition for its campaign. We assure the ministry of health and the Rwandan community in general that we will continue to play a role in promoting safe abortion.” Mwananawe added.
The activity was, as well, organized to commend the success that Rwanda has registered in reducing maternal mortality and also devise ways of addressing challenges in implementation of laws and policies that affects reproductive rights of women.
Speaking to the media amid the event Eduard Kamuhangire, Director of Health Services and quality assurance in the Ministry of Health (MINISANTE) said: “The government eased safe abortion service by putting in place the law regarding it, by making the service available and affordable, in an effort to mitigate unsafe abortion rate in Rwandan women.”
“We call on ladies to avoid engaging in unsafe abortion as it may result in severe consequences including fatality, infertility, etc.” He added.
Rwanda has made efforts in improving the health of women by reforming restrictive laws on access to safe abortion, leading to the revision of the penal laws and adoption of the law Nº68/2018 du 30/08/2018 determining offences and penalties in general to enable full access to safe abortion.
Under this law, abortion has been exempted under the conditions demonstrated as follows: when the pregnancy is a result of child defilement, rape, incest in the second degree, forced marriage, or if the pregnancy puts at risk the health of the pregnant person or of the fetus. In these circumstances, abortion can only be performed by a qualified medical doctor.
“We help ladies in need of abortion, we provide good service to sustain safe abortion. We are against anyone who engage in unsafe abortion. Unsafe abortion rate has lowered since the law regarding abortion was amended to ease its access where it is requisite.” Said Olive Mukeshimana, Assistant Director of Kibagabaga hospital, where safe abortion service is performed.
During the event, participants that included health activists, beneficiaries of abortion service and different health-based professionals, showed interest in preventing unsafe abortion through advocacy, and shared experience.
The international Safe Abortion Day has been celebrated since 1990 in Latin America, and since 2011 around the World.