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: All Africa
The United Nations family is committed to supporting Rwanda in the elimination of Mother-to- child Transmission of HIV/AIDS .

Source: All Africa
Less than half of pregnant women are seeking delivery services in hospitals greatly putting their lives and those of unborn babies in danger.

Source: Plus News
Asha* is in a polygamous marriage, and while she would like to protect herself from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, the message from the preachers at her local mosque in the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, is that condoms promote adultery.

Source: UN News Center
Visiting health workers in Ethiopia today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spotlighted the progress made in improving the health of women and children, while also stressing the need to do more to avoid needless deaths.

Source: UNFPA
Across Africa, cell phones are rapidly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. From an isolated rural village, a business owner can make a bank deposit through her phone; a farmer can access current crop prices; and an expectant mother can learn about antenatal care.

Source: All Africa
Reports reaching The Chronicle indicate that women in the three northern regions of Ghana grow older more easily than those in the south, due to uncontrolled birth practices.

Source: UNICEF
UNICEF is concerned about the situation of children and women in the southwestern province of Bas-Sassandra in Côte d'Ivoire. Weeks of clashes near the town of Soubré have triggered population displacements and prevented UN aid agencies from accessing affected people to deliver life-saving assistance.

Source: PlusNews
Rwanda is in the third and final phase of testing a vaginal ring containing antiretrovirals, which, if successful, could provide an important female-controlled method of HIV prevention.

Source: UN News Service
Sixteen countries have announced concrete commitments aimed at drastically reducing current levels of maternal, newborn and child mortality, the United Nations reported today.

Source: IRIN News
 Maternal health will be the focus over the next week when Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon begins a four-nation trip that will take the United Nations chief to Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Ethiopia and France, his spokesperson said today. The trips to Nigeria and Ethiopia are part of the "Every Woman, Every Child" global health effort, which Mr. Ban launched in September last year during the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) summit at UN Headquarters in New York.

A call for developing advanced techniques to meet the contraceptive needs of about of 215 million or 26 % of reproductive-age women across the developing world is being heard in the corners of the world. As per reports, one in four sub-Saharan African women is grappling to get hold of new contraceptives methods, replacing the existing methods.

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