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“Women with disabilities are thirty times more likely to have an unwanted pregnancy”

Health Prevention Rights
Democratic Republic of Congo International

Every day, 1,600 women and more than 10,000 infants around the world die from complications during pregnancy or childbirth. On 28 May, International Day of Action for Women's Health, HI is highlighting the need to inform and warn about health risks and to help all women access appropriate healthcare. 

Health centre for mother and child in Bumbu, DRC | © Kristof Vadino / HI

Women exposed to multiple risks

Around 14 million teenage girls become mothers every year, and young women with disabilities are 30 times more likely to have an unwanted pregnancy.

In addition, every day, 1,600 women and more than 10,000 infants around the world die from complications during pregnancy or childbirth[1], mainly in developing countries.

“However, 70% of complications can be prevented. Information, prevention and providing access to quality health care for all women, including women with disabilities, are therefore a priority,” explains Rafik Bedoui, HI’s mother and child health expert.

Better health for more than 125,000 mothers and children

HI aims at improving the health conditions of mothers and children in fifteen or so countries, including DRC, Mali, Kenya and Cambodia. In 2017, the organisation provided 125,230 mothers and children with support.

Information, prevention and access to quality healthcare

HI informs and warns young women about the risks they face and how to prevent them.

“For example, in the DRC, we go to villages and explain to women that it’s better to space their pregnancies, and that they should consult a doctor if they have bleeding or pain. We also organize 'clubs' for women, where they can express themselves and ask their questions about sexuality," adds Rafik Bedoui.

HI also ensures that women can reach a health centre easily despite their disability, that care is free or affordable, and that they can get the medical help they need. 

In addition, HI aims at improving the quality of care provided and offers advice to health personnel.

Medical equipment must be good quality, and doctors should be able to help women who are deaf or have cerebral palsy. Information is important too: for example, you can use pictograms to display clinic opening times so that everyone understands them. People also need follow-up care adapted to their needs,” adds Rafik Bedoui.

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