Unsafe abortion in Burkina Faso

Researchers from Norway and Burkina Faso presented findings from a three-year interdisciplinary project on unsafe abortion in Burkina Faso, at a conference in November. Health care providers, researchers and policy makers from Burkina Faso discussed women’s social reality and necessary policy responses to the problem of unsafe abortion.

Researchers from Norway and Burkina Faso. Photo: Katerini Storeng

Researchers from the University of Oslo and Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement (IRD) (Frankrike og Burkina Faso) organised a large conference on unsafe abortion in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on November 29, 2013 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The team presented results from three years of interdisciplinary research into unsafe abortion in Burkina Faso, conducted as part of a larger project led by Professor Johanne Sundby, supported by anthropologists Katerini Storeng (UiO) and Fatoumata Ouattara (IRD).

The research was funded by the Research Council of Norway’s ECONPOP-programme, which focuses on the association between poverty, cultural conditions and reproductive health in low-income countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa.

Research findings

Fatoumata Ouattara and Katerini Storeng analysed abortion policy in Burkina Faso, a country with a restrictive abortion law where most abortions are unsafe, resulting in high levels of abortion-related morbidity and mortality. PhD student Ramatou Ouédraogo demonstrated how women’s social vulnerability contributes to unsafe abortion. Medical research degree student Hanne Lichtwarck (UiO) assessed the provision of post-abortion care services in the Ouagadougou region, while recent MPhil graduate Seydou Drabo (UiO) analysed the complicated and often problematic relationship between health care providers and women seeking care for treatment of abortion complications. Patrick Ilbodo, PhD candidate in health economics, presented the substantial costs incurred by women and by the health system for the treatment of abortion complications.

Health workers, researchers and policy makers participated in a lively discussion on the social and public health issues related to unsafe abortion.

The conference was covered by Burkinabe television and daily press.

Illustrations of the politics of unsafe abortion

The researchers commissioned artist Damien Glez to make these illustrations, which were shown at the Conference:

By Katerini Storeng
Published Dec. 4, 2013 12:04 PM - Last modified Apr. 24, 2014 11:20 AM