Unsafe abortions in the developing world kill 68,000 women a year and lead to the hospitalisation of at least five million others for infection and other complications, a study published in this Saturday's
The global estimate is made from an extrapolation of figures for 13 countries by Susheela Singh of the Guttmacher Institute in New York.
Around 19 million unsafe abortions take place annually around the world, a tally that includes back-street pregnancy terminations as well as legal ones, according to Singh's paper.
Each year, the death toll from these risky operations is around 68,000 and more than five million women need hospital treatment afterwards, the paper says.
The 13 countries examined in depth by Singh are Egypt, Nigeria and Uganda; Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Philippines; and Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru. Some data for Burkia Faso, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa were also available.
The lowest rate of hospitalisations was in Bangladesh, with 2.8 per 1,000 women; the highest was Uganda, with 16.4, followed by Egypt, with 15.3 in public hospitals.
Singh noted it was hard and sometimes impossible to get accurate or recent figures about unsafe abortions -- India was singled out here -- but said the toll in mortality and ill health was clearly enormous.