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Women’s Health Report Ignites Discussions In Solomon Islands

Yesterday, the Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association (SIPPA) launched a women’s health report that highlighted the determinants, practices and consequences of unsafe abortion in Solomon Islands, documenting a serious public health issue.

“Though the report is on unsafe abortion, that is the last stage. We all need to work together to ensure that our women, our girls, our future have access to sexual reproductive health. SIPPA cannot do it alone – we need your help, if our people have access to the right information and right services than we won’t have many cases of unsafe abortion” Ben Agoa, SIPPA Executive Director.

Through the interviews with health workers, Focus Group Discussions (FGD) with young people and inpatient data collection from the National Referral Hospital (NRH), the major findings of the study were as follows; Unwanted pregnancy is common and occurs in the context of gendered norms about sex and contraception that limit women’s ability to access and to use contraception, and to negotiate consensual sex, in the absence of safe abortion services, women resort to a range of unsafe methods to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, including custom medicine, self-harm and use of misoprostol in the absence of adequate information or support if needed.

In addition, A pregnancy may be unwanted because a girl or woman: is not married, or does not want to marry the man who she became pregnant with and vice versa, as she will face stigma and discrimination as an unmarried mother and may be forced to pay compensation to her family if she continues with the pregnancy; cannot pursue her secondary or, sometimes, tertiary education or her working life if she continues with the pregnancy; or cannot support a child.

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During the launch, a panel discussion also took place where participants from relevant authorities, government departments and organizations were able to give feedback and highlight areas where collaboration can take place to ensure Solomon Island women and girls had access to the right information and services.

In attendance, were representatives from Save the Children, UNICEF, DFAT, MFAT, Young Momen Christian Association, Ministry of Education and Human Resources Management, Solomon Islands National Council of Women, Law Reform, Director of Prosecutions and Police.

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