Posted in Medshield Wellness | 04 March 2019
Knowledge about sexual reproductive health and rights can empower both men and women to engage in healthy conversations about issues which are still considered taboo, despite advances in technology and access to information.
Annually recognized in February – which just so happens to be the month of love - Reproductive Health Awareness Month is an ode to educating and assisting in the battle against reproductive diseases and maintaining healthy human development. At Medshield, we strongly believe that reproductive health should be acknowledged on a daily basis
Despite the clear definition given to the awareness month, according to the formal definition by the World Health Organization (WHO), health is more than absence of illness. It is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. Similarly, reproductive health also represents a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of reproductive diseases or alterations. This definition implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so
Even though both sexes take part in reproducing, women bear by far the greatest burden of reproductive health problems. Women are at risk of complications from pregnancy and childbirth; they also face risks in preventing unwanted pregnancy, suffer the complications of unsafe abortion, bear most of the burden of contraception, and are more exposed to contracting, and suffering the complications of reproductive tract infections, particularly sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Among women of reproductive age, 36% of all healthy years of life lost is due to reproductive health problems such as unregulated fertility, maternal mortality and morbidity and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS. By contrast, the equivalent figure for men is 12%.
Essential Components of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare:
Reproductive health is a crucial feature of healthy human development and of general health. It may be a reflection of a healthy childhood, is crucial during adolescence, and sets the stage for health in adulthood and beyond the reproductive years for both men and women. It should be taken into account that the reproductive life span does not begin with sexual development at puberty and end at menopause for a woman or when a man is no longer likely to have children. Rather, it follows throughout an individual’s life cycle and remains important in many different phases of development and maturation. It can be said that at each stage of life individual needs differ. However, there is a cumulative effect across the life course and events at each phase having important implications for future well-being. Failure to deal with reproductive health problems at any stage in life sets the scene for later health and developmental problems.
In South Africa, an essence of dissonance ensues when looking at data on women’s reproductive health. The last Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) of 2003 states that 90 percent of pregnant women received antenatal care and 91 percent of births were attended by a skilled health practitioner, yet the latest estimates of maternal mortality in the country approximate the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) at up to 625 per 100 000 live births. The same DHS reports that 65 percent of women in South Africa are using a modern form of contraception, yet recent cross-sectional studies show that over 60 percent of most recent pregnancies are unplanned.
According to the WHO, all women need access to antenatal care in pregnancy, skilled care during childbirth, and care and support in the weeks after childbirth. A discussion on reproductive health rights in South Africa via the Marie Stopes South Africa blog notes that even though our country is one of the few societies in which individuals' sexual and reproductive health rights are protected, 30% of South African women still do not know that they do in fact have a right to safe, legal reproductive health services. Every day, approximately 1,600 women and more than 10,000 newborns die from preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Almost 99% of these maternal and 90% of neonatal deaths occur in developing countries. As the first pillar of safe motherhood and essential component of primary health care, family planning plays a major role in reducing maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality, and enhances efforts to improve family health.
Expecting can be as daunting as incredible, and at Medshield we endeavour to minimise the stress and unknowns so you relax and enjoy this special time with liberal maternity benefits provided on each of our 7 Benefit options