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: allAfrica

Sumbawanga — OVER 154,800 women in Rukwa Region are expected to rip benefits of the 21.5bn/- safe delivery project dubbed 'Uzazi Salama', thanks to a generous funding from Global Affairs Canada and other individual Canadian donors through Plan Canada.

Source: allAfrica

Although the law allows for abortion in cases such as rape, red tape makes it difficult for women and girls to receive the service in government facilities

Source: allAfrica

Every day, Nigeria loses 2,300 children below the age of five and 145 women of childbearing age, making the country the second worst place on earth to conceive, give birth or raise a child. Martins Ifijeh writes that underneath the statistics lies the pain of thousands of families.

Source: allAfrica

Victims of Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in North West Nigeria are being rehabilitated after treatment to ease their reintegration into the society without discrimination, a check by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has revealed.

Source: allAfrica

Renowned Malawian gynaecologist Dr Chisali Mhango sheds light on abortion law history, misconceptions, fears and law reform process in Malawi.

Abortion is a very common universal phenomenon. Since the beginning of recorded history women the world over have terminated unwanted pregnancies. The first recorded evidence of an induced abortion is found in an Egyptian Papyrus dated 1550 BC.

Source: allAfrica

Getting gynaecological services in Nairobi's public hospitals is a tedious process that leaves women seeking the specialised services exhausted.

Source: AllAfrica

In 2013, Debra Adhiambo, 35, then four weeks pregnant, booked an appointment with a popular gynaecologist based at one of the private hospitals in Nairobi. He had been highly recommended by several friends, and since she wanted to get the best treatment, she decided to consult him.

Source: allAfrica

Abuja — The White Ribbon Alliance in collaboration with partners has launched the "What Women Want" campaign aimed at hearing directly from women and girls across Nigeria about how they define quality maternal and reproductive healthcare.

Source: IDRC

Access to information and services for contraception and birth spacing are critical to maternal and child health programming. It is no surprise then, that IDRC is supporting research in sub-Saharan Africa to investigate emerging questions and to propose ways to improve the reproductive health of women and adolescents. 

Source: allAfrica

But will South Africa be able to get this figure down further -- in time to achieve its sustainable development goal in 2030?

Source: Reuters

In a tiny village in Egypt's southern province of Assiut, 16-year-old Amany Shamekh, who wants to be an artist one day, recalls how she was illegally circumcised with a razor blade."The midwife came to the house, my mother took off my underwear and the lady said 'hang in there'," said Shamekh who grew up in the village of Awlad Serag.

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