The maternal mortality ratio is unacceptably high in Africa. Forty per cent of all pregnancy-related deaths worldwide occur in Africa. On average, over 7 women die per 1,000 live births. About 22,000 African women die each year from unsafe abortion, reflecting a high unmet need for contraception. Contraceptive use among women in union varies from 50 per cent in the southern sub-region to less than 10 per cent in middle and western Africa" UNFPA

Early and unwanted childbearing, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and pregnancy-related illnesses and deaths account for a significant proportion of the burden of illness experienced by women in Africa. Gender-based violence is an influential factor negatively impacting on the sexual and reproductive health of one in every three women. Many are unable to control decisions to have sex or to negotiate safer sexual practices, placing them at great risk of disease and health complications.

According to UNAIDS, there is an estimated of 22.2 million people living with HIV in Sub-Saharan African in 2009, which represents 68% of the global HIV burden. Women are at higher risk than men to be infected by HIV, their vulnerability remains particulary high in the Sub-Saharan Africa and 76% of all HIV women in the world live in this region.

In almost all countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, the majority of people living with HIV are women, especially girls and women aged between 15-24. Not only are women more likely to become infected, they are more severely affected. Their income is likely to fall if an adult man loses his job and dies. Since formal support to women are very limited, they may have to give up some income-genrating activities or sacrifice school to take care of the sick relatives.

For more information on HIV/AIDS and Reproductive health, please visit the following websites:

Source: Daily Maverick
Limited, incomplete or incorrect knowledge and information related to sex, sexuality and sexual and reproductive health and rights among the youth contribute to gender-based violence, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, HIV, teenage pregnancies and other adverse health outcomes.

Source: AfricaFeeds
In a bid to keep its pregnant women fit and healthy, Rwanda has launched its first-ever public exercises for pregnant women.

Source: The Guardian
A lesbian activist in a rural town has developed a new strategy to reach those most at risk of HIV.

She is an African, feminist and human rights activist who has just been appointed to arguably one of the most important jobs in coordinating and leading the international AIDS response, possibly at the most significant moment in the epidemic’s lifespan.

Source: Ghanaian Times
Nangodi — Activists and teachers in the Upper East Region have called on the Ministry of Education to consider in its budget, the provision of free sanitary pads for schoolgirls from very poor homes who could not afford to purchase the commodity during their menstrual periods.

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

New York — When the policy was in place in the Bush era, modern contraception use declined by 14% and pregnancy rates rose 12% in countries most reliant on U.S. family planning aid.

Source: UNFPA
Maseru, Lesotho — "We are now aware that everyone has rights, including key populations such as sex workers and the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people)," said Chairperson of the Parliamentary Social Cluster Portfolio Committee Moshoeshoe Fako.

Mr Fako was speaking during an oversight tour of health facilities by Lesotho's parliamentarians to inspect delivery of health services and discuss what has changed since the ICPD Programme of Action was put in place 25 years ago.

Source: The HeraldTHE Government has noted that the price of sanitary wear has shot beyond the reach of many women who have resorted to using unhygienic materials exposing them to various diseases despite the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) waiving customs duty on imports of the feminine product.

Source: AllAfrica

Activists in Nigeria have accused police officers of raiding a Marie Stopes clinic in Lagos on May 21. The officers reportedly "harassed the health workers and patients and took away confidential client information".

Source: WHO
Beira — In the aftermath of Cyclone Idai which devastated large areas of Mozambique, a group of 15 dedicated women - mostly widows - have been credited with ensuring that sthere have been no cases of cholera in their district.

Source: New Zimbabwe

ZIMBABWE's current economic problems have resulted in more women dying during childbirth, a senior government official has said.

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