Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) encompasses all matters related to puberty, sexuality, relationships, sexual health, fertility and birth.
It is a fundamental human right of all people to decide if, when and with whom to have sex, and if and when to have children - free from discrimination, coercion and violence.
Addressing SHRH is critical to improving the health of women and children - meeting the needs for effective contraception would avert 30 per cent of maternal deaths and 20 per cent of child deaths by supporting health timing and spacing of births and preventing unwanted pregnancy. Over a third of all women who die from pregnancy-related causes did not want to be pregnant in the first place.
It is also crucial to achieving sustainable, equitable development by allowing adolescent girls and women to complete education and participate in paid employment. It would also support poverty reduction and women’s empowerment.
- 225 million adolescent girls and women (1 in 4 in low and middle income countries) have an unmet need for contraception (i.e. don’t want to get pregnant but aren’t using an effective method of contraception)
- 80 million unintended pregnancies every year
- 22 million unsafe abortions resulting in 47,000 deaths each year and many thousands more who suffer serious complications and disability
- 1 in 3 women globally experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime, mostly at the hand of an intimate partner
- 1 in 10 adolescent girls aged 15-19 years have experienced sexual violence
- About 200 million women are infected with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) every year - most do not receive adequate treatment. Adolescent girls and young women 15-24 years have the highest rates of STI of any age group.
Burnet Institute has a strong track record of using evidence-based approaches to improve access to sexual and reproductive health information and services.
Research and Public Health Focus