Violence against women is also: a lack of reproductive health care

Reproductive Health Care Action Against Hunger

Photo: Action Against Hunger’s Porridge Moms project in Nigeria.



From November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and until December 10th, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is a global campaign to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.

Violence against women is one of the biggest causes of injury and death to women worldwide, causing more deaths and disability for women ages 15 to 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war. In other words, it’s an epidemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

However, violence against women goes beyond the physical. Violence can be physical, sexual, psychological. Violence can include limiting autonomy, decision-making power and access to certain resources.

For these 16 days, we are highlighting 16 different types of violence that women and girls experience beyond the physical.

You can take action against gender-based violence:


Day 8 – Violence against women is also: a lack of reproductive health care


The issue with reproduction healthcare

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), reproductive health is a state of complete physical, mental and social-well being and not just the absence of disease. Reproductive health care is therefore important for addressing reproductive functions at all stages of life. It is therefore vital that women have access to services that enable them to progress safely through pregnancy and childbirth. Most women in the countries where Action Against Hunger operates do not have access to the appropriate healthcare services and children often experience stunted growth or early death.

At present, both mothers and their children are struggling due to the lack of access to reproductive health care. In 2015, around 830 women died everyday due to complications faced during pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these deaths occurred in low-income areas, where access to basic services is lacking. The risk of death in developing countries is around 33 times higher than for women in developed countries. This gap speaks volumes about the inequality between women in different regions of the world. To add to this, the frequency of humanitarian disasters and wars in developing countries further contributes higher mortality rates for women and children.


How is Action Against Hunger helping?

Action Against Hunger has invested in providing pregnant mothers with access to much needed reproductive health care. For example, in North East Nigeria, the ‘Porridge moms’ program has been set up as a group that provides pregnant and new mothers with education, nutrition and peer support. The members of the group have originated from war torn areas, having fled their homes with their children in search of safety. 20-year-old Hauwa is one of these members, who crossed the border into Nigeria and is now the caregiver of a three-year-old child who has been separated from his parents. The support group has benefited her through education on nutrition, and has enabled her to take care of the child, despite having no previous experience as a mother.

Additionally, Action Against Hunger has set up ‘baby tents’ in a number of countries. The tents have been significantly important in creating safe spaces for new mothers and their babies, especially for Syrian refugees. The town of Eida in Lebanon has recently been flooded with Syrian refugees, most of whom are mothers and their children. Pregnant women and new mothers lack basic healthcare in Lebanon, and because of this, mortality rates are significantly higher. Through the use of baby tents, Action Against Hunger has been able to provide mothers with a space to help and educate them on the correct forms of childcare. Mothers use the tents to breastfeed and spend time with their children in peace and privacy. This has ensured for the social wellbeing of both mothers and children.

Reproductive Health Care Action Against Hunger

Action Against Hunger in Nigeria.


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