Global work on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) is progressing, but there are still major differences in the global North and global South, according to a new UN report. Photo: MarijoAH12. Source: Wikimedia commons.


Maternal mortality in the world is decreasing - but inequality remains

Since the year 2000, the rights of women and girls have been strengthened all over the world. Education, improved maternity clinics and increased access to contraceptives have led to a 34 percent reduction in maternal mortality since the turn of the millennium. At the same time, there is a big difference in sexual and reproductive rights in the global north and global south. It shows one new report by the United Nations Population Fund UNFPA.

Since 1969, the UN agency UNFPA has worked to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). In short, it is about promoting everyone's right to live in a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe and every young person lives under safe health conditions.

At the launch of UNFPA report Natalie Kanem said, head of administration at UNFPA, att The UN agency cooperates with both international and local organizations. Since the turn of the millennium, their work has contributed to that the number of unintended pregnancies in the world has decreased by almost a fifth, maternal mortality has been reduced by a third and laws against domestic violence have been secured in more than 160 countries.

Big difference between global north and global south

But there is a long way to go to achieve global equality in sexual and reproductive rights. As a result of racism, socioeconomic vulnerability and sexism, women worldwide continue to be exposed to childbirth complications and health risks in connection with childbirth, especially in the global south. For example, women in Africa are 130 times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth complications than women in Europe and North America. Every day, 800 women also die in childbirth, more than half of whom live in countries in humanitarian crisis.

An extra onere cause behind Maternal mortality is unwanted pregnancies that lead to women not daring to seek care or not being close to maternity care. A quarter of the world's women cannot say no to sex with their partner, and one in ten women are denied self-determination by contraception, according to the report.

Knowledge is crucial in the work for women's right to good health and safe pregnancy

While the report presents frightening figures, UNFPA shows that the work to strengthen the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls is moving towards a positive developmentg. One of the reasons for this is knowledge, believes Shádia Fraxe, health secretary at a maternity clinic supported by UNFPA. She says that education and information increase women's and girls' rights awareness of their rights and health risks. 

Women who come to the antenatal clinic can say "No, doctor, I don't want to have children anymore", or "I want to plan my pregnancy", says Shadia Fraxe. 

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