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: IPS
From the outside, little has changed at the Maternal and Child Healthcare Clinic: pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers wait patiently on wooden benches. A chorus of infant call-and-response betrays the less long-suffering approach of their children to the wait.

Source: UN Women
UN Women, under the Fund for Women’s Property and Inheritance Rights in the Context of HIV/AIDS, today announced approximately US$1.5 million in small grants to twenty grassroots and community-based organizations in sub-Saharan Africa to strengthen women’s property and inheritance rights as a critical strategy for addressing women’s vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.

Source:UN News Centre
The United Nations health agency today released its first ever list of the most vital medicines for saving the lives of mothers and children, and stressed the need to ensure their availability in developing countries.

Source: Newswise
National Women and Girls AIDS Awareness Day, a nationwide observance that raises awareness and promotes action in the fight against HIV/AIDS, took place on March 10. As the nation turns its attention to this important cause, women and girls around the world continue to be affected by HIV/AIDS in high numbers.

Source: IPS
When the ban on traditional birth attendants was lifted last year, pregnant women quickly appeared at Dorothy Chirwa's door in Malombe village in Mangochi, a district on the southern shores of Lake Malawi. Chirwa was among the thousands of TBAs banned from providing women with care in 2007.

Source: United Nations Country Team in Somalia
Somalia's health care system was utterly destroyed by the civil war leaving the country with, among other problems, the highest rate of maternal and infant mortality in the world. A Somali woman gives birth to an average of 6 children during her life time. 14 in every 1000 women die due to complications related to child birth.

Source: Times of Malta
Although the gender gap in education is closing, there are wide differences within and across countries, and far too many girls are still denied schooling, leave prematurely or complete school with few skills and fewer opportunities.”

Source:Women Deliver
The West African country of Liberia is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be pregnant - 1 in 20 women will die during pregnancy or childbirth. This high statistic is the result of a protracted civil war that has damaged the country’s health infrastructure

Source: ReliefWeb

A new joint programme is changing the way the Lesotho government and its development partners deliver aid by getting different government departments, UN agencies and civil society organizations working together to help mothers and their families.

Source: Sowetan
League president Angie Motshekga said yesterday the organisation would embark on a campaign to educate teenagers about safe sex and encourage abstinence to help curb the spread of HIV-Aids.

Source: New Era
Despite the high level of knowledge about modes of HIV transmission and prevention, many Namibian women lack control over their own sexuality.

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