Image, Guttmacher-Lancet Commission: Health & Rights

Society Reaps the Benefits When Women Enjoy Better Health Care

Dr. Marleen Temmerman and Dr. Zeba A. Sathar are both Commissioners on the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.


Weak political commitment, inadequate resources and persistent discrimination against women and girls: these are just some reasons that many countries still don’t openly and comprehensively address sexual and reproductive health and rights.

This is borne out by figures. Each year in developing countries, including those in Africa, more than 30 million women don’t give birth at a health facility. More than 45 million have inadequate or no antenatal care. And over 200 million women want to avoid pregnancy but don’t have access to modern contraceptive methods.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals -– introduced in 2015 –- were created to address many of these problems. The goals recognise that sexual and reproductive health and rights are fundamental to people’s health and survival, to gender equality and to the well-being of humanity.

But many countries on the continent still have a long way to go before they make any headway with these goals.

In a bid to boost these fundamental rights, the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights was convened in 2016.

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