In Sub-Saharan Africa, there is a lack of human resources that results in huge public health issues within the country. The list of public health issues is vast, but we will mainly focus on gender violence, unsafe abortions, unintended pregnancies, women, children, the inaccessibility of health care services, lack of community development, decline of Christian populations and so much more that continues to endanger the citizens of the Sub-Saharan African communities.
The religious leaders of Sub-Saharan countries, the government, United States, Ministries as well as several Universities from the U.S. has been involved to help strategize and implement a helpful public health preventative measure to support the community. The religious leaders have been implementing safe family planning and human rights to the locals. There are approximately 14 million unintended pregnancies that occur in the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa because there is lack of public health services, lack in sex education, gender violence, and harmful traditions that continues to be passed down (Hubacher, 2008).
Public health professionals should continue to strategize with local religious leaders and government officials to create a safer environment for those that reside in the Sub-Saharan African community. Women in the Sub-Saharan Africa continue to have a lack in family planning which means that many couples lacked having important discussions of unintended pregnancies, research states that approximately 14.3% of pregnant women stated that they weren’t looking forward to having a baby but had an unintended pregnancy (Faye, 2013). The group of women was that experienced unintended pregnancies were typically from lower income families and married or became pregnant at a younger age, younger than 25 years old. One of the strategies that would protect these women would be to educate them in family planning and provide education on how to community with their spouse or family in regards to getting pregnant and being fertile. During 2008, approximately 39 percent of the 49 million pregnant woman that lived in the Sub-Saharan Africa were actually not wanting their babies or had a baby too much earlier than wanted (Faye, 2013). When the mother emotionally feels this way due to an unintended pregnancy then there is absolutely an adverse effect to the child and the women in terms of the quality of life and the outcomes of the birth which can result in many abortions, illegal or unsafe cases as well (Faye, 2013).
It is reported in a country called Senegal that approximately third of all females ages 15 to 24 years old are already sexually experienced and are experienced and are at a high risk of unintended pregnancies (Faye, 2013). The young women are exploited into the consequences that they lack in knowledge of their only reproductive system and sex education that they have not yet had with their parents as well as with those that they’ve had sexual relationships with. The variables of unintended pregnancies were determined by these factors of education level, religious status, whether one was married or not, how old were they, income in terms of who was working, and the couples discussing what was their focus in life. Approximately 85.6% of women were unemployed, 60.3% already had over three children as well, and approximately 60.
3% of the family never utilized contraceptive methods at all and never thought of utilizing them. The health of these youth women was affected due to sexually transmitted diseases, unsafe abortions, the risk of mortality from births, or even morbidity. Educating the community at a younger age at schools or churches from religious leaders would be helpful to the community of Sub-Saharan Africa. The government creating more pregnancy clinics and accessible at no cost health care centers would be helpful as well. Educating the male or spouses on unintended pregnancies and the complications that can come to their wives and their future children. Providing them continual education and preventive measures that the women can take to take care of themselves from being at high risk of mortality and morbidity even potentially mental health damage to their future self and possible children being affected by stress from their environment due to unintended pregnancies. Female genital cutting or so-called mutilation is a tradition that takes place in the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa that is very dangerous to women.
Approximately women ages to 15 to 49 years old goes through genital cutting a statistics of 78.3% (Kaplan, 2011). The genital cutting is to remove small parts of the entire part of the female genital parts or to injure the genital organ tradition, not for medical issues. This is a discrimination against women a violence that creates unnecessary critical damage to women’s health.
Approximately 100-140 million women and young girls have been victims already and every year approximately 3 million of these girls can be at risk in these countries at this time. This is an ancestry cultural tradition that has been occurring to purify virgins that also makes that their entire family will continue to be in honor due to this tradition and act of service (Kaplan, 2011). After the cutting of their genital areas the women will typically get more bacteria in their vaginas, infections, continual bleeding, UTI, abnormal scars, and are prone to getting herpes virus 2 which is a huge political and religious activities that there is absolutely harmful proof medically. This harmful tradition should disappear from the Sub-Saharan Africa’s practices and in order to help the government and the practice to discontinue to continue to provide education on the effects and the dangers associated with their own children, wives, and the community. This health consequence can also lead to viruses to men as well due to lack of medical care. The statistics and research should continue to be submitted to the government officials and religious leaders to make sure that this doesn’t continue on in their own community. The sub-Saharan African community makes me think about the blessings that we have from the United States of America as a California citizen. I feel faithful that I should be more thankful for my life here today and as a public health practitioner be able to advocate and promote health to our community continually as well as globally.
As public health leaders, it is my duty to find strategizes that would work best for each community. For the Sub-Saharan African community, the best thing would be able to continually meet up and educate the higher religious leaders as well as the government officials with statistics and numbers on how to help their own community to become healthier and a safer community to live in. Creating funded projects to focus on healing those that were a part of this tradition, providing education to those younger generations that are being born and maybe a part of this cycle. More research should be done in smaller communities and to allow the religious leaders to break free from their traditions for the health of their people. Allowing research should continue to utilize medical professionals and evidence-based results to be implemented in the changes for their community. Allowing educating the women, children, and all those that may be affected by this traditional practice.
The classmates that I worked with was Jenritchel Tamayo, Vicki Morales, and Christin Gutierrez. My teammates were always on time, completed their assignments in a timely manner, and was available when needed. Public health is a team effort and everyone can make a difference in at least one person’s life by promoting and advocating for them, we need to be the voice of the community.