Reproductive and sexual health and safe motherhood in the developing world

Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 1999 Dec;4(4):217-28. doi: 10.3109/13625189909071342.


The aim of this paper is to discuss the main hurdles and possible solutions concerning reproductive and sexual health and safe motherhood in the developing countries. In response to the changing global situation, a broader new concept of reproductive health has emerged. The Programme of Action of The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) emphasizes and highlights various aspects of reproductive health. No population in the world has met the goals of the ICPD. The problems are particularly acute in developing countries: between 20 and 40% of births are unwanted or wrongly timed, posing hardships for families and jeopardizing the health of a million women and children. An estimated 50 million induced abortions are performed each year, with some 20 million of these performed under unsafe conditions or by untrained providers. Almost 600,000 women die every year due to pregnancy-related causes, 99% of them in developing countries. Approximately 7.6 million infant deaths occur during the perinatal period each year. There are more than 333 million new cases of curable sexually transmitted diseases world-wide each year. Nearly 22 million people are estimated to be infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, of whom 14 million are in sub-Saharan Africa, with rapidly increasing numbers of infected persons in South and South-East Asia. When compared to the developed world, these figures are staggering because of barriers operating at different levels and preventing women from receiving care that is timely and of good quality. United efforts of obstetricians, pediatricians, sociologists, and different governmental and non-governmental organizations are required to achieve our targets.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child Welfare / trends*
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • India
  • Maternal Welfare / trends*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproduction*
  • Reproductive Medicine / organization & administration*