Report: Addressing the Challenge of Women’s Health in Africa


Report of the Commission on Women’s Health in the African Region


The report of the World Health Organization’s expert Commission argues that women’s health is the foundation for social and economic development in the African Region. Women’s health is recognized as a human rights issue and should be promoted and defended as such. Women in Africa represent slightly over 50% of the continent’s human resources and so women’s health has huge implications for the Region’s development. Focusing in particular on the unacceptably high level of maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa, the report calls for a fundamental rethinking of approaches to improving women’s health informed by an understanding of the sociocultural determinants that are so important in shaping it.

icon Full report (6.49 MB) [icon Français (6.5 MB) ] [icon Português (6.31 MB) ]

icon Summary (3.11 MB)  [icon Français (3.04 MB) ] [ icon Português (3.18 MB) ]

Report in sections

icon Acknowledgements (59.81 kB)

icon Members of the Commission (268.14 kB)

icon The President’s Foreword (109.48 kB)

icon The Regional Director’s Foreword (111.25 kB)

icon Acronyms, Abbreviations and Definitions (454.37 kB)

icon Executive Summary (794.46 kB)

icon Introduction (360.89 kB)

icon Chapter 1: Rethinking women’s health (747.91 kB)

icon Chapter 2: The health status of women in the African Region: from birth to the onset of sexual activity (601.61 kB)

icon Chapter 3: The health status of women in the African Region: the reproductive years (1.64 MB)

icon Chapter 4: The health status of women in the African Region: beyond the reproductive years (609.44 kB)

icon Chapter 5: The socioeconomic benefits of investing in women’s health (1.25 MB)

icon Chapter 6: Interventions to improve women’s health (1.67 MB)

icon Chapter 7: Conclusions and recommendations (432.47 kB)

icon Appendix: The methodology used to prepare this report (187.61 kB)

icon Appendix: Photography (87.61 kB)