The North West health department has called on women to use designated public facilities to terminate unwanted pregnancies instead of using unsafe facilities, who advertise their services on lamp posts across South Africa. Picture: Supplied

Rustenburg - The North West provincial health department on Monday urged women seeking to terminate unwanted pregnancies to use designated public health facilities to avoid the risks that  accompany backstreet abortions.

Provincial health spokesman Tebogo Lekgethwane said designated hospitals and community health centres provided free abortion services with safety guarantees, and cautioned that women who used unrecognised facilities risked complications and sometimes death.

"Bogus doctors use unsafe methods of terminating pregnancy that often result in serious infections, infertility and even death of unsuspecting women. A number of women have fallen victim to bogus doctors."

Women were often rushed to public health facilities afterwards with serious complications.

"This is not only costly to the department but creates a burden on the health care system,"  he said.

According to the World Health organisation (WHO), based on data from 2010–2014, there are approximately 25 million unsafe abortions performed annually. 

Of these, one third or approximately eight million were performed under the least safe conditions by untrained persons using dangerous and invasive methods, and seven million women are estimated to suffer complications.

In developed regions, the WHO estimated that 30 out of every 100,000 unsafe abortions prove fatal to the woman. The number rises to 220 in developing regions and to 520 for every 100 000 unsafe abortions carried out in sub-Saharan Africa.

African News Agency/ANA