On Thursday (4th of March), the United Nations revealed that women in Africa are less likely to die from the corona virus than men, but more likely to succumb to maternal complications due to limited access to reproductive services since the beginning of the pandemic.
The conclusion of the study resulted from twenty-eight (28) African countries including Guinea, Mauritius and Uganda. It showed that on average women accounted for a slightly smaller proportion of coronavirus infections and deaths compared to men.
Overall around 41 percent of reported Covid-19 cases were women, although the figures ranged widely from 31 percent in Niger to more than 57 percent in South Africa.
The report was given by the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, during an online news conference.
“In most countries, women are somewhat less likely to die from Covid-19 than men. There was a rise in maternal deaths in 10 countries.”
The Regional Director went on to disclose that the highest increase were recorded in the Comoros, Mali, Senegal and South Africa. Although access to sexual and reproductive care was already poor before coronavirus, it was worsened by restrictions to stem the spread of Covid-19, causing more women to seek risky informal abortions.
Another effect of the pandemic was the inability of overstretched hospitals to see patients seeking non-coronavirus related services.
However, more data is still needed to ascertain the full extent of the effect.