rose Challenges to women's rights in Senegal rose


Article 16
1. Every individual shall have the right to enjoy the best attainable state of physical and mental health. 2. States Parties to the present Charter shall take the necessary measures to protect the health of their people and to ensure that they receive medical attention when they are sick.

(African [Banjul] Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, adopted June 27, 1981, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/67/3 rev. 5, 21 I.L.M. 58 - 1982)

Maternal health:

·       Fertility Rate: 4.96 children born per woman (2008)
·       Infant Mortality: 58.93 deaths/1000 live births (2008)
·       Skilled Attendant at Child Delivery: 52% (2000-2006)
·       Maternal Mortality Ratio: 980 per 100,000 (2005)
·       Lifetime Risk of Maternal Death: 1 in 21 (2005)
·       Average Child Marriage: 39% (1987-2006)
·       Female Genital Cutting National Average for Women: 28% (2000-2006)

Water shortage is what causes most health problems of the Senegalese population and in particular of Senegalese women. It aggravates poverty and raises important hindrances to developmental efforts. Since in the Senegalese society it is girls and women who have the responsibility of collecting and transporting water, they most affected of this shortage. According to UN reports, they spend on average 15-17 hours per week collecting water – often walking 6 miles or more in the dry season. Also, the fact that they carry heavy water containers on their head when they are pregnant might affect the position of their baby (he might not in the right position for delivery).

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Transversal pregnancy, misconceptions about women's health and causes of disease, adolescent pregnancy (due to marriage at very young ages, right after they reached puberty), mutilations of female genital tissue (about a third of Senegalese women have undergone genital cutting) and the fact that half of the births take place without qualified help, leads to high maternal mortality rates (1,200 per 100,000 live births) and infant mortality rates (58.93 deaths/1000 live births) in Senegal.


Senegal made significant progress between 1990 and 2000 toward improving women’s health: the maternal mortality ratio was cut in half, and the number of attended births increased by 11%, while the harmful traditional practice of female genital mutilation was legally banned. Yet, by implementing the Bamako Initiative, which privatized the health care system, the Senegalese Ministry of Health made health care less accessible to its citizens.  As the people responsible with the health of household members, women were the greatest victims of the implementation of SAPs, having to deal with increased health care workloads.