Over 180,000 women still die from pregnancy and childbirth in Africa

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A mother gives one of her children a bath outside of their temporary shelter in a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) near the town of Jowhar, Somalia.
Credit: UN Photo/Tobin Jones

Despite progress that Africa has made in the past 20 years in the advancement of women, over 180,000 women on the continent still die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth each year.

That's what participants at a meeting of Africa's First Ladies on Maternal and New-born Health beyond 2014, organized by Chad and the UN Population Fund were told on Monday.

The moderator of the event, Siki Mgabadeli, a well known South African journalist, said that from 1990 to 2013 maternal mortality has been reduced by 47 per cent in Sub Saharan Africa.

Ms Mgabadeli added that more and more African countries are giving attention to women's health through progressive polices and programmes.

However, she said, African women still face many challenges with adolescent girls still contributing to most of the maternal deaths and in many countries one out of six girls being married before turning fifteen.

"Most young girls are sexually active but there is inadequate comprehensive sexuality education to give them the information that they need to protect themselves. The percentage of adolescent girls dropping out of school because of early pregnancy is still increasing. As many as 181,000 women in Africa still die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth every year." (26")

Ms. Mgabadeli said there is still a lot of work to be done to address maternal and newborn health with a particular focus on the adolescent girl.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations

Duration: 1'52"

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