Sexual and reproductive health is key to UNFPA’s vision – that every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
The East and Southern Africa region has high maternal mortality and morbidity rates. HIV infection rates are the worst globally, with 15 per cent of maternal deaths in Southern Africa attributable to HIV. Family planning is an elusive goal for many African women. More than two thirds of women of reproductive age are currently not using modern contraceptives and more than a third of all pregnancies are unwanted.
These trends have led to our priority sexual and reproductive health areas, including maternal health, family planning, prevention of sexually transmitted infections including HIV, young people’s access to sexual reproductive health information and services, and female genital mutilation.
We are committed to renewing and intensifying advocacy and policy dialogue for maternal health and health financing with high-level policy makers. We seek to strengthen health systems to improve access to quality maternal health services. This includes the provision of equipment and capacity building through training, supervision and mentoring, especially of midwives; and developing curricula, guidelines and standards to improve newborn care and emergency obstetric care to prevent maternal deaths and obstetric fistula, and to increase the availability of treatment for obstetric fistula.
We are equally committed to supplying reproductive health commodities and other life-saving medicines, and providing community-based information and services so that more women and men have access to family planning and other reproductive health services. We support comprehensive sexuality education for young people to prevent child marriages, unwanted teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions, HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections.
At the regional level, we prioritize programmes focused on the reduction of maternal mortality, comprehensive sexuality education, reducing gender inequality, repositioning family planning and reducing HIV, with special attention to key populations at risk.
In support of our 23 Country Offices, we aid with capacity development of national partners and institutions, and building evidence for better programming and decision making. We provide technical expertise in-country and support South-South cooperation between countries.