1. Maternal Mortality Rate
- Each year, there are more than 300,000 maternal deaths worldwide, which translates to about 800 deaths per day. This can be attributed to factors such as young pregnancy and childbirth (pregnancy and childbirth before the age of 20), lack of family planning, underdeveloped medical environment and health services, and delays in infectious disease control . According to a 2000 report, 95% of maternal deaths occur in Africa and Asia, 4% in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the remaining 1% in high-income countries. In particular, it has been shown that 1 in 16 women living in sub-Saharan African countries are likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth .
2. Gender-based Violence
- Gender-based violence refers to any act that harms another person against their will based on social gender differences. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been called “the worst place in the world for women,” two in three women have been victims of sexual violence since 1996 . In 2014, the Islamic State captured more than 7,000 women and children, and more than 3,000 are still unaccounted for due to forced marriage, sexual violence, and human trafficking .
- Victims of violence are more likely to experience forced or unexpected pregnancies, unsafe abortions, fistulas (obstetric fistulas)[i], and the development of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, as well as death, depending on the severity of the violence .
3. Reproductive Health[ii]
- At the end of 2018, there were 37.9 million HIV-positive people worldwide, 1.7 million new HIV infections per year, and 770,000 deaths from AIDS per year . In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of positive females aged 15–24 years is reported to be twice that of males. Furthermore, when restricted to adolescents aged 15–19 years, four out of five new infections are among women . It has also been reported that in African countries such as Rwanda, Tanzania, and South Africa, women who have experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner are more likely to be infected with HIV .
- There are more than one million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) per day worldwide [7,8]. Among them, Chlamydia trachomatis, and gonorrhea can cause serious complications in women, including pelvic inflammatory disease, and infertility .
- The main contraceptive method used globally is oral contraceptives, followed by female sterilization, and intrauterine devices (IUDs) . Among them, many women in European countries take oral contraceptives as their primary method of birth control [10,11]. The rates of oral contraceptive use in each country are shown in the next section.