‘Women in sub-Saharan Africa have high fertility rate’

Mark Okundi(left) interacting with some officials from IPPF

Mark Okundi(left) interacting with some officials from IPPF

Findings of the State of the African Women Report (SOAW) has indicated that women in Sub-Saharan Africa have high fertility rates and high unmet needs for family planning

It stated that Africa each year recorded an estimated amount of 1.4 million unsafe abortions among girls 15-19.

According to the study, there was very low usage of contraceptives among Africa women, while three out of four abortions in Africa were unsafe.

Mr Mark Okundi, Advocacy Officer for International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), said these when he presented the SOAW report at a consultative meeting held in Accra on Tuesday.

It formed part of the ongoing conference on the review progress on the implementation of the Addis Ababa Declaration on Population and Development.

More than 150 civil society organisations are presently meeting in Accra to discuss the progress made towards achieving access to sexual and reproductive health rights in Africa.

Mr Okundi said the research was conducted in Africa to review the status implementation and raise awareness on the Maputo Protocol and Plan of Action, which sought to eliminate discrimination against women, eliminate harmful traditional practices and end violence against women amongst others.

The report according to him established that only three African Countries, Kenya, Central African Republic and Congo Republic have constitutional provisions on the right to reproductive health.

Mr Okundi stated that women and girls had the right to control their fertility, decide on the number, timing and spacing of pregnancies choose a method of contraception and also have easy access to sexual and reproductive health services.

He said the report also indicated that seven out of ten countries in which the research was conducted have constitutional provisions that articulate women’s right to health, which includes the right to health as well as the right to health care.

Commenting on the state of gender violence in Africa, Mr Okundi stated that one in over three women in Africa experience gender based violence, while three in ten countries lacked a legal framework regarding domestic violence.

According to the SOAW report, many African countries do not prevent marital rape at most they do not criminalise marital rape.

The research report however indicated that the Maputo Protocol and Plan of Action have not been well implemented in Ghana.

By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey                                  

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