Women's Health


Gender inequity, poverty among women, weak economic capacity, sexual and gender-based violence including female genital mutilation (FGM) are major impediments to the amelioration of women's health in the African Region. To ensure that women and men have equal access to the necessary opportunities to achieve their full health potential and health equity, the health sector and the community need to recognize that women and men differ in terms of both sex and gender. Because of social (gender) and biological (sex) differences, women and men experience different health risks, health-seeking behaviour, health outcomes and responses from health systems.

Furthermore, gender social stratifications have resulted in unequal benefits among various social groups of women and men as well as between women and men. Hence, continued support to Member States to roll out the Women's health strategy and its resolution, and integrating gender into health policies and programmes have been the major achievements.

Violence against women in crisis situation

The prevention and management of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) was high on many countries' agenda as well in the Regional Office. Continuous technical support has been provided to Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Uganda to train health professionals in the prevention and management of SGBV. DRC has developed a video describing WHO/SGBV activities including income-generating activities. Upon clearance, the video will be made available to interested parties.

A meeting has been organized by WHO in collaboration with the Medical Women's International Association stressed the various conditions that need to be viewed through a gender lens. These are violence from law enforcement agencies, denial of female education, trafficking in women, widowhood practices and discrimination in employment. The effects of violence can be devastating to any body's health as per WHO definition. These include STI/HIV/AIDS, post-traumatic disorder syndrome and loss of dignity and self-esteem.