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: IRIN
Tafadzwa Kazingizi, a 19-year-old mother from Chitungwiza, about 30km south of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, has been haemorrhaging since she gave birth four months ago. She did not visit a prenatal clinic during her pregnancy.

Source: IRIN
The Kenyan government and rights groups have expressed outrage at a project in western Kenya that is paying HIV-positive women to undergo long-term contraception.

Source: IPS
Sub-Saharan African countries have claimed nine of the ten bottom places in a ranking of maternal health around the world. "The Mothers' Index", a new survey of motherhood by Save the Children, analyses health, education and economic conditions for women and children in 164 countries.

Source: IRIN
Uganda is short on data on HIV among the country's sex workers, but a new study shows that in the capital, Kampala, HIV prevalence among female sex workers could be more than four times the city's average prevalence.

Queen Tinyiko Nwamitwa-Shilubana has often found herself at the crossroads of South African history and has helped usher in democracy and expand women's rights. She has also helped define the role of traditional leaders in the fight against HIV.

Source: The New York Times
Here’s a Mother’s Day thought: There’s a way to save many of the world’s 350,000 women who die in childbirth each year. But it’s very controversial, for it’s called family planning.

Source: UN News Centre
United Nations officials today hailed the significant impact of midwives on the health of women and newborns, and called for greater investment to ensure their life-saving services are available to all who need them around the world.

"Investing in adolescent girls benefits everyone, and when they flourish, their families and communities flourish as well. That's why they are at the heart of our agenda." This was the message of Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, speaking at the 44th Session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD).

Source: health-e
A clinical trial aimed at investigating whether an antiretroviral pill a day could prevent women from getting HIV was abandoned yesterday.

Source: IPS
“We no longer need to go to Hanène, three kilometres away, for vaccinations or for a check-up for our children,” said Maguette Niang, a 40-year-old mother from Keur Madaro, a village in the west of Senegal.

Source:UN News Centre
Programmes to impart sexuality education to young people are more cost-effective when integrated and mandatory, according to the findings of a United Nations study released today at a symposium in New York.

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