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: African Feminism
Growing up, I was taught that menstruation was a private affair. I learnt that no one was supposed to know when I was on my period. Everything about how I handled myself during my periods had to be discreet. Nobody was supposed to see my pads; I was to handle them like contraband goods. In-fact supermarkets still wrap pads in newspapers for secrecy. 

Source: Daily Nation
Widowed and with four children, Ms Florence Atieno has been living positively with HIV for 10 years now.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, Ms Atieno, who lives in Nyalenda slums in Kisumu County, could easily access her antiretroviral therapy drugs (ARVs).

As a registered client at the Kisumu County Referral Hospital, she would pick up her drugs on a monthly basis.

Source: Inter Press Service

It was only when 17-year-old Eva Muigai was in her final trimester that her family discovered she was pregnant. Muigai, a form three student who lives with her family in Gachie, Central Kenya, had spent her pregnancy wearing tight bodysuits and loose-fitting clothes that hid her growing baby bump.

Source: The Conversation
Amid global commitments to defeat, or at least minimise, the pervasive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on the African continent remains unclear. African governments have moved quickly to mobilise resources and strengthen their emergency preparedness and response capacities.

But particular attention needs to be paid to the most vulnerable members of the population. There are ongoing discussions on pressing health issues including women’s health.

Source: DailyMonitor
Pregnant mothers in Nebbi District are giving birth from homes due to lack of transport to health centres during the lockdown, putting their lives and those of unborn babies at risk.

Nebbi leaders now say while the lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease is good, government should work out an arrangement to have expectant mothers deliver safely.

Source: Ghana Business News

The World Health Organisation argues that maternal mortality is unacceptably high. It notes that about 295,000 women died during and following pregnancy and childbirth in 2017. The vast majority of these deaths (94 per cent) occurred in low-resource settings, and most could have been prevented.

Source: DailyMonitor
Health and education experts have warned of an increasing number of teenage pregnancies, stigma and mental health problems among school going learners due to ongoing coronavirus induced lockdown.

Source: World Helath Organization 

A clearer picture of the global impact

New research from the Global Maternal Sepsis Study (GLOSS), a major WHO/HRP initiative, shows that infection has a much larger impact on global maternal mortality and morbidity than previously thought.

Source: The Guardian

In the visitors’ books of Eshowe’s many guesthouses and hotels, tourists inspired by verdant sugar cane fields and blossoming trees write about “a corner of Eden”.
Locals and specialists know the small town set high among the rolling hills that run along South Africa’s eastern coast for another reason.

Source: African Arguments  

In Kenya, Always pads use a cheap material that causes irrituation for many. In Europe and the US, they don't. 
For more than three decades, Procter & Gamble had a near monopoly in Kenya’s sanitary pad market. Its “Always” pads are most likely the first brand girls become familiar with, long before they even know what menstruation is. Over time, the name has also become synonymous with superior quality. Consumers feel they have no reason to try other brands. 

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