Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


Over the past decades, governments have taken steps towards improving women’s health in line with commitments made in key international summits. Progress has been made in reducing maternal mortality,1 which accelerated with the launch of the United Nations secretary general’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health in 2010. Use of maternal healthcare and family planning has increased in some countries.2 Progress has also been seen on two determinants of women’s health—school enrolment rates for girls and political participation of women—but not for others such as gender based violence.3

However, societies are still failing women in relation to health, especially in low resource settings. Discrimination on the basis of their sex leads to health disadvantages for women.4 Structural determinants of women’s health, along with legal and policy restrictions, often restrict women’s access to health services.

This paper elaborates the health problems women face, and priority interventions to overcome them, as a background for and informing the updating of the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health