Lets us discuss the health of women, who are our mothers, sisters, and colleagues.
Women and men are inseparable partners in ensuring the continuity of humanity. Women as mothers have unique roles from conception, pregnancy, and childbirth. They are the pillars of families providing helpless newly-born children with critical nutrition and support. Women also provide men and children with homes where the characters and values of people are shaped and communities are built. It is evident that giving priority to the health of women must take center stage in all societies and health systems.
Reproductive health is defined by WHO as “a responsible, satisfying, and safe sex life with the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when, and how often to do so”. There are health risks at every stage of the cascade in this definition which call for support from the health system and society. These risks include infections, fistula, infertility, and unwanted pregnancies with related mental health implications that impact women’s wellbeing and power dynamics in society.
Women also have cancers and tumors affecting the uterus and cervix, ovaries, and breast, and aging in women comes with post-menopausal disorders and decalcified fragile bones.
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) made significant progress during the MDG period with women’s health indices when maternal mortality (MMR) and morbidity declined by 45%. However, this still leaves Africa far behind other regions of the world. The current MMR figures for SSA average 1000 deaths per 100,000 births compared with 25/100,000 in other regions; is a matter of concern and shame.