Women are the gatekeepers to their communities. We work primarily through women and girls, to build the knowledge, skills and means to transform their health, laying foundations for generations to come.
Unsurprisingly, women and children are more vulnerable to ill health in Africa. Low income and social status, lack of education and traditional gender roles and responsibilities are key contributing factors. The biggest risk to the lives of teenage girls and women in the developing world is pregnancy and childbirth. Too many young girls become pregnant with devastating and long-term effects on their reproductive health.
Maternal death rates in Africa are particularly high because of the lack of skilled midwives, obstructed labour, unsafe abortions, anaemia and malaria.
Almost 4 million children under five die in sub-Saharan Africa every year. For every 1,000 babies born, 172 die. In developed regions, this figure falls to nine per 1,000.
Major causes of death for under-fives in sub-Saharan Africa include malaria, acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea and AIDS-related diseases. Additionally, many babies die in their first month because of complications during pregnancy and labour, or from infections. Eighty per cent of these children die at home without seeing a health worker, and most of these deaths could be prevented through basic interventions, clean water and sanitation.
Thankfully, your support is helping to change this. Amref Health Africa supports reproductive health and rights for women through ensuring access to effective contraceptives, skilled obstetric services, assisted delivery, ante-natal and post-natal care and care of newborns. We know that increasing the number of skilled midwives to provide basic and comprehensive emergency and obstetric services is key to preventing maternal deaths.
Every March, we celebrate African motherhood by standing in solidarity with women across the continent.