HARGEISA - Asha Ali Ibrahim, 41, has been performing female genital mutilation (FGM) on girls in Diaami, Hargeisa and other parts of Somalia since 1997. July and August are her busiest months of the year. "This is the peak season, when parents bring their children to be cut," she told UNFPA.
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NAMPULA CITY, Mozambique - "Some adolescent girls will leave school to marry for money," 21-year-old Edma told UNFPA. "Some are engaging in unsafe sexual behaviours, unaware of the risks and their rights." Edma sees these realities every day. And she has made it her mission to change things: She has become a mentor.
AHUACHAPÁN, El Salvador - "I could have died the day my son was born," said Evelyn*, who became pregnant when she was only 13. Her pregnancy was complicated, and she spent most of the time bedridden and in constant discomfort. During her pregnancy, Evelyn had a variety of severe complications, including gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
SAYED KHEL, Pakistan - "It was seven in the morning, and I had not yet started my working day, when Hafsa* was brought to the clinic with normal labour pains," said Mahbooba, a 27-year-old midwife who runs the Aqtash clinic in Afghanistan's rural Sayed Khel District.
Women continue to be disproportionately affected by drug use, and face obstacles in accessing treatment, compared to men, according to the President of the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
DAMASCUS, Syria - Ruqayya was pregnant when she fled the embattled city of Deir ez-Zor, in north-eastern Syria, with her husband and two young children. The family took refuge in Al-Areesheh camp, in Al-Hasakah Governorate - but Ruqayya's ordeal was not yet over.
CAVITE, Philippines - Seven months ago, Mae Esparcia, 30, gave birth to her first child, Maria Carmen. After her delivery, Ms. Esparcia, a garments factory worker at Hamlin Industrial Corp. in Cavite, Philippines, decided to start using contraceptive pills, which she received for free - from her workplace.
The United Nations population agency today urged governments and development partners to expand midwifery programmes and promote an environment where midwives can effectively serve the needs of women and their families.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Elizabeth was exhausted after four hours of contractions at the Petite Place Cazeau clinic, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Finally, with gentle guidance from the midwife, she gave one last push. Stifled cries filled the delivery room. The nurse presented a baby girl to the new mother.
LUSAKA, Zambia - "I have seen girls become pregnant, become victims of violence and become HIV-positive, and I don't want to become one of those girls," said 13-year-old Lydia Mwelwa, a student at Kabulonga Basic School in Lusaka, Zambia's capital. "I'm happy they have taught us in school how we girls can protect ourselves," she added.