Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP peopleandplanet.net
people and reproductive health
Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP
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reproductive health > factfile

Safe motherhood
Every day at least 1,450 women die from the complications of pregnancy and childbirth - at least 529,000 each year. Ninety-nine per cent of these deaths take place in developing countries. ... more

Child mortality
More than 10 million children die each year in the developing world, the vast majority from causes preventable through a combination of good care, nutrition, and medical treatment. The World Health Organization has warned its members that they are losing the battle against child mortality and may fail to meet a target to reduce it by two-thirds by 2015. ... more

Fertility and population growth
Women are having fewer children than ever before - a global average of about 2.8 children each. This number - the total fertility rate - is a key determinant of global population growth in the future. ... more

Reproductive health and reproductive rights
The rights-based approach to sexual and reproductive health adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in 1994 reflects a new global policy consensus on the relationships between population policy and sexual and reproductive health and rights. If women are empowered and people's needs for sexual and reproductive health are met, population stabilization will be achieved by virtue of choice and opportunity, not coercion and control. ... more

Unwanted pregnancy
More than one-third of all pregnancies - 80 million each year - are unwanted or mistimed. Unwanted pregnancies are more likely to result in maternal death, since women experiencing unwanted pregnancies often resort to unsafe abortion when safe services are not available. ... more

Unsafe abortion
Women have always used abortion to control their fertility. Poor access to family planning services, shifts from rural to urban settings, poverty and hardship, increase in non-marital sexual activity, adolescent sexuality coupled with unprotected sex, all contribute to the continuing practice of abortion in the developing world. ... more

Sexually transmitted infections
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are among the most common causes of illness in the world and have far-reaching health, social and economic consequences. In addition to their sheer magnitude, STIs are a major public health problem for two additional reasons: their serious effects on women's health and fertility, and the fact that they facilitate transmission of HIV. ... more

The HIV virus which causes the fatal AIDS disease is mainly transmitted through heterosexual intercourse in the developing world. Women are more easily infected than men, and the presence of other sexually transmitted infections increases the chances of contracting HIV. ... more

Adolescent sexual and reproductive health
Worldwide, women aged 15 to 19 give birth to roughly 13 million of the 131 million children born each year. Women in this age group have 10 per cent of all abortions. The physical immaturity of many of these young mothers increases their risk of death or serious disability; pregnancy-related complications are among the major causes of death for girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide. ... more

Female Genital Mutilation
An estimated 135 million of the world's girls and women have undergone genital mutilation, and two million girls a year are at risk of mutilation - approximately 6,000 per day. It is practised extensively in Africa and is common in some countries in the Middle East. It is traditionally regarded as a form of circumcision for girls marking their entry into womanhood, although sometimes it is performed on very young children. ... more

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