Women 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.
Three quarters of the population living with HIV in Africa between the ages of 15-24 are women.
Women are more vulnerable to HIV because of biological reasons, but the key factors behind this disparity are social and economic. Financial circumstances can force women into selling themselves for sex and too many of those who are in relationships or married are often not in a position to demand faithfulness or safe sex.
Maternal death rates in Africa are particularly high because of the lack of skilled midwives, obstructed labour, unsafe abortions, anaemia and malaria. 1 in 39 women dies as a result of pregnancy or childbirth compared to just 1 in 8,000 in industrialised countries.
Pregnant women in Africa are particularly vulnerable to malaria. Their immunity is low, and they often do not have the knowledge or the means to be able to prevent it. Obstructed labour is a particular problem for young women giving birth whose bodies are not sufficiently developed. Some African countries have the highest adolescent pregnancy rates in the world.
Violence against women is also a key concern in Africa, especially in South Africa, which has the highest incidence of violence against women in the world among countries not at war.
Read about AMREF's Mama na Mtoto, Maternal Health, Kenya project, training communities in the vital skills that can help prevent maternal deaths.
Read about AMREF's project in Afar, Ethiopia, promoting Malaria Prevention education and techniques reducing prevalence in women and children.
Read about AMREF's work providing Pastoralist Health care , bringing health facilities to women and children living in remote Ethiopia.