Johannesburg, May 16 (IANS) Every year 25 million unsafe abortions take place, which compromise the sexual and reproductive health of women around the world, revealed an alarming report published in the journal The Lancet.
The report showed that globally as many as 180 million couples get affected by infertility; nearly two million people become infected with HIV and nearly 266,000 women die from cervical cancer.
About one in three women worldwide experience gender-based violence, most often from an intimate partner.
The researchers urge for a new, bold agenda to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights of women around the world.
"Gaps in sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide take an enormous toll on individuals, communities and economies. We must not continue to tolerate this problem," said Alex Ezeh, Commission Co-Chair and former Executive Director of the African Population and Health Research Centre.
"It's time to eliminate these inequities with a comprehensive approach that doesn't overlook critical components like access to safe and legal abortion, prevention of reproductive cancers, or treatment for infertility," Ezeh added.
Moreover, each year in developing regions, more than 200 million women want to avoid pregnancy but are not using modern contraception; more than 45 million women receive inadequate antenatal care, or none at all; and more than 30 million women deliver their babies outside of a health facility.
The researchers noted that meeting the need for modern contraception, safe abortion, and maternal and newborn health care in developing regions would cost just $9 per person per year.
Access to sexual and reproductive health services saves lives, improves health and well-being, promotes gender equality, and increases productivity and household income.
The researchers called on countries to tackle restrictive social norms, laws and policies, and to hold governments accountable to their commitments.
"For too long the world has accepted these stark realities as inevitable. Our report shows how they can be overcome, laying out a roadmap that countries can use to put essential services and interventions in place," said Ann M. Starrs, President and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute -- a US-based non-profit.