Burden of Reproductive Ill Health

Document Type

Book Chapter


Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


This chapter presents the burden of global reproductive ill health and, where data permit, regional estimates for selected conditions. Ill healthrefers to morbid conditions such as infections and injury and to nonmorbid measures of reproductive health that directly contribute to adverse reproductive health outcomes, including unwanted pregnancies and violence against women. The chapter is organized into six subsections: unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, non-sexually transmitted reproductive tract infections (RTIs), infertility, violence against women, and female genital mutilation (FGM). Unintended pregnancies lead to unintended births and induced abortions. Unintended births often occur among young women who are emotionally and physiologically not mature, which has effects on the health of the mother, the pregnancy, and its outcome. Induced abortions in countries where the practice is illegal are often provided in unsafe environments and by untrained personnel, which contribute to the high maternal death from abortion complications. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) of the reproductive tract receive attention in programming and research, but little attention is focused on other infections that affect fertility and increase the risk of transmission of other infections. Violence against women violates their rights, including limiting access to and use of prevention and treatment services in addition to physical injury and death. FGM causes bodily disfigurement and may present immediate surgical complications and long-term risk of poor reproductive outcomes, especially during delivery.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication ( Name of Journal)

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank