Reproductive and Women's Health


Reproductive Health

The Reproductive Health Programme supports Member States to develop, implement and evaluate effective policies and strategies related to sexual and reproductive health leading to the improvement of sexual and reproductive health outcomes throughout the life cycle.

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.

Women in the African Region are more likely to die from communicable diseases (e.g. HIV, tuberculosis and malaria), maternal and perinatal conditions, and nutritional deficiencies, than women in other regions. Globally, about 468 million women aged 15–49 years (30% of all women) are thought to be anaemic, at least half because of iron deficiency and most of these anaemic women live in Africa (48–57%).

It’s reported that 1 in 4 deaths among adult women are caused by NCDs such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Tobacco is a leading risk factor for NCDs and its use is increasing among young women in the Region.

WHO and partners step up action to improve access to and uptake of family planning services in four African countries

The World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO) today concluded a three-day orientation and planning workshop in Brazzaville, Congo for the implementation of “Africa: Strategic Technical Engagement with Evidence for Results (Af-STEER): A regional platform to strengthen FP programmes’ performance in African countries”.




Cervical cancer common amongst African women

Cervical cancer common amongst African women

Cervical cancer is caused by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract. It affects younger age groups as a result of early sexual activity, multiple sexual partners, and exposure to other sexually transmitted infections such as HIV.



Regional consultation on universal access to Sexual and Reproductive Health: progress since 1994 ICPD, lessons learnt and plans for acceleration
Brazzaville, Congo, 8-10 July, 2014

WHO convened a three day meeting of countries and partners on achievement of universal access to sexual and reproductive Health (SRH) since the call made by the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994, involving 179 countries.  It defined critical actions for advancing sexual and reproductive health beyond 2014. The meeting took place on 8-10 July 2014, at the WHO Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo.



Fact sheet on women's health

Q&A: What is a gender-based approach to public health?