Message from NORSAAC on International Women’s Day-2019
For the past 17 years, we have celebrated women each passing day but we reserve today as more special because the whole world is singing the hymn we sing each day for the past 17 years.
Women represent more than half of the 1.2 billion African population living on a total of 30.2 million square km and speaking up to 2,000 different native languages. Due to the numerous armed conflicts in the continent, African women are in charge of the majority of households and are key food producers, and also represent more than 43 percent of the agricultural labour force.
According to the UNICEF (2017), every minute, a woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth —this adds up to more than 10 million deaths over a generation. Almost all of these women—99 per cent—live and die in developing countries. Maternal mortality reduction remains a priority under “Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda through 2030. Global Target is that by 2030, the world should reduce the global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) to fewer than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.
Currently in Ghana, the maternal mortality ratio is still unacceptably high as it stands at about 300 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. A high maternal death rate is an indicator of an inadequate health care system, including those that offer poor and only limited access to health services. It also indicates that a woman’s fundamental rights to life and health are being violated. Yet the vast majority of maternal deaths could be prevented. Efforts to prevent maternal deaths require political and financial commitment. They also require a broad range of partners: men as well as women, international organizations, governments, civil society and the media need to be involved in the required long-term and targeted efforts.
Instead of merry making and celebrating joyously with women on this day, we bow our heads in shame for the institutional negligence and lack of political will that led to the deaths of women trying to bring forth life. Nevertheless, on this day, we salute all women for their resilience, strength and will power to keep families happy. On this day, we salute all women from Mamprugu Moadugri to Zabzugu, from the North East to the Savannah Regions, from Axim to Paga, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Sahara Desert. We salute all women in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and Australasia.
We will continue to celebrate women every day. At NORSAAC, we shall continue to empower women and young people.