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
Preventing stillbirths can cost just US$2.32 per mother if governments, the private sector and international institutions adopt a package of 10 health interventions, rather than allowing stillbirths to be an almost invisible problem. 

Source : Plus News
 Desperate and displaced, some Burundian women will do anything, including have unprotected sex for money, to escape the dreadful living conditions in the Bujumbura suburb of Sabe, where more than 480 families of internally displaced persons (IDPs) have lived for several years.

Source: BBC
The majority of Ethiopia's population live in rural areas and when they are ill many do not seek medical advice, but a new government programme hopes to change this at a local level.

"I learnt that you need money or a business to generate enough income to be able to travel to town for regular check-ups and to collect antiretroviral drugs. We do not have these services at our village dispensary."

President Alpha Conde and the First Lady, Ms Djene Kaba Conde, will participate in this year's UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS. The announcement came during a two-day official visit by UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe to the West African nation of Guinea Conakry.

A controversial US project that pays drug users and alcoholics to undergo sterilisation or long-term contraception, is setting its sights on women living with HIV in South Africa.

Source: IRIN
Failure to diagnose and treat syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among pregnant women in Kenya means thousands of mothers risk losing their children or passing on the infections to their unborn children.

Source: IRIN
Every school morning, Geoffrey Ocira stops his lessons for half an hour, rushing to his office to give his HIV-positive students their antiretroviral (ARV) medication.

Source: News 24
Johannesburg - More than 60 babies are stillborn in South Africa every day, The Lancet medical journal reported on Friday.

Source: World Health Organization
Some 2.6 million stillbirths occurred worldwide in 2009, according to the first comprehensive set of estimates published today in a special series of The Lancet medical journal.

Source: IRIN
The annual number of stillbirths around the world is more than double the number of people who die from HIV-related causes, according to a new report that says this widely overlooked epidemic could be dramatically mitigated with better antenatal care.

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