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: CMAJ
Rwanda appears to be stemming the tide of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as health experts report that the HIV prevalence rate in this small East African nation has fallen below 3% from a staggering 13% in the 1990s.

Source: Ms. Magazine
Chances are, you'll hear or read soon that the world's population is about to hit 7 billion. Get ready for cool graphics demonstrating its remarkable escalation over the past century, as modern medicine and agricultural advances helped people live longer and societies flourish, while fertility rates remained higher than "replacement level" in much of the world.

Source: UN Women
UN Women is supporting a project in Rwanda to provide legal and medical services to widows who survived the 1994 genocide. The project specifically focuses on providing services to widows with HIV/AIDS,

Source:All Africa
Women living with HIV and AIDS from 13 southern African countries attending a capacity building session on palliative care and HIV resolved to go back to their countries and demand access to appropriate care, including the management of pain.

Source: All Africa
Can vaccinating pregnant women against the flu protect their newborn babies from getting the influenza virus? Well, that's exactly what a clinical study in three countries, including South Africa, wants to find out.

Source: Daily Nation
In Kenya, there is an estimated 7,000 new obstetric fistula cases each year - thousands of these are yet to get treatment.

Source: All Africa
WOMEN in Rivers State have been charged to use the free medical services initiated by the State Government to curb maternal and infant mortality and other health challenges.

Source: Daily Independent
no other topic could have ignited so much passion and contributions from participants such as the one which the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch chose for its two-day international bar conference which was held last week at the Nigerian Institute for  International Affairs, Lagos.

Source: Sunday Times
An association bringing together midwives in the country was, yesterday, launched alongside the State of World's Midwifery report.

Source: NYT
The paramedic’s eyes were bloodshot, his features drawn. Pregnant women jammed into the darkened concrete bunker, just as they had yesterday and would tomorrow. The increase in patients had been fivefold, or tenfold. The exhausted paramedic had lost count in a blur of uninterrupted examinations and deliveries.

Source: Gender Links
While HIV prevalence rates are dropping in many parts of Africa they are on the rise within African communities in other parts of the world and experts think gender roles and harmful cultural practices are to blame.

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