Girls around the world lack basic knowledge about their sexual and reproductive health and struggle to access menstrual health supplies. Many grapple with shame and taboos surrounding menstruation. These issues undermine girls’ health and rights. Girls can be subjected to stigma or miss school due to difficulty managing their menstrual hygiene. These concerns are being addressed at this week’s Menstrual Health Management Symposium in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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One of the most serious complications a woman can experience in childbirth is prolonged, obstructed labour. Women who survive this condition can develop an obstetric fistula, a hole in the birth canal that leads to chronic medical problems, including pain and infection, as well as incontinence. Three years ago, the Government of Ethiopia launched a campaign to eliminate obstetric fistula by 2020. UNFPA is supporting this effort by helping to identify fistula survivors and supporting surgical repairs at hospitals in Assela, Gondar and Jimma.
UNFPA is working with the Philippine Society for Responsible Parenthood, with support from Family Planning 2020, to provide 40,000 women with access to contraceptive implants in 14 areas, including far-flung communities with indigenous people.
KATHMANDU, Nepal - In her home district in far-western Nepal, 19-year-old Sangita BK needs no introduction. She is well-known as an activist against child marriage. In the last three years, she has - on her own - stopped at least a dozen child marriages.
The economic inequalities plaguing much of the world today are reinforced by many other forms of inequality, including inequalities in sexual and reproductive health. More than 200 million women-many of them poor and living in rural and remote parts of the world-lack access to voluntary family planning methods.
BANGKOK, Thailand - Mon* began dating her boyfriend when she was 14 years old. They met online. A few months in, "he wanted to have sex," she recalled. "He did not use any protection. I was scared at first, but he said he would take all responsibility."
"I was so desperate, I had lost hope. Committing suicide seemed the only escape from the abuse, back then," Fatima* said in an interview earlier this month. "I didn't know how to handle the pain." A mother of eight, Fatima has been married for about two decades.
At only 19, Michelle Zeledón, from the north of Nicaragua, has been through a lot. She watched her father beat her mother, and endured years of his verbal abuse. "One time, during the Holy Week, my dad tried to kill my mother," she told UNFPA.
India - When a 13-year-old girl in the remote village of Darbhanga, in India's Bihar State, overheard her parents planning to marry her off to a 15-year-boy the very next day, she had little hope to stop it. Child marriage is a deep-rooted norm in her community.
Senior UN officials are calling for an end to violence against women and an end to impunity for sexual abuse.